Monday, March 26, 2007

Discuss, discuss, discuss...

For those of you just joining us, the below posts contain all the information about our campaign and why it exists.

And for those already caught up, let's confine the discussion to the comments section of this post.

122 comments:

rtrdiscussion said...

Ok folks, here's the discussion area we all wanted -- so let's get talking.

Laeta

RTR said...

Does anyone know when the MPAA is likely to issue a decision RE: rating for Captivity?

Elizabeth Dennehy

Jill said...

Hey guys, just want people to know that the MPAA thinks they will have a ruling on his next week. I would like to encourage all of the people who have been writing to me privately and on both moms groups-- peach head and east side moms-- to put their thoughts HERE in this comments section... if you have the orginal messages you wrote regarding your gut feelings on this billboard, they need to be shared here so that we can collect the info for the MPAA, Lionsgate etc to see...

RTR said...

And here's the link to the Wristcutter article -- fyi -- because I think we all agree this is a larger issue than just CAPTIVITY.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3i87331fd42c57f3923fdb08aaf5b3f8a3?imw=Y

Laeta

RTR said...

And this is my favorite letter so far, written by a writer who beautifully articulates for me why this is an issue for everyone in our society:

I write for a show in which a serial killer chops people up on a weekly basis. And I’d fight to the death for my right to do so, and for the right to air it. But here, I’m fighting for my personal freedoms – such as the freedom not to be assaulted with horrific images promoting violence against women on my daily drive to work. People who watch my work on T.V. have the freedom to turn it off. But apparently the streets belong, not to the general public, but to the torture-porn purveyors of the world. If one in four women in this country is assaulted at one point in her lifetime, then one in four women who drove past those billboards was re-traumatized. The rest of us were simply horrified, and reminded, yet again, of how vulnerable we still are. It’s been a long hard road bringing those assault statistics down, and there has been some marginal success in doing so. The last thing we need is a “how-to” primer at major intersections. The distributors of “Captivity” violated the rules of human decency, and the rules of the MPAA. They need to know they stepped over a line. And unless they feel the punishment in their coffers, they’ll simply view this as a successful marketing campaign and continue to up the ante. Remove the rating, and let them know this far and no further.

Wanted to share that with anyone who's reading this page --

Laeta

Anonymous said...

In reading that NY Times article... I think there’s a very powerful argument to be made to the MPAA regarding the upcoming governmental review of youth marketing. If the MPAA doesn’t seriously take a stand against this horror marketing that’s been going on the past 3 years, than the government might just come in and set regulations themselves. As Dan Glickman said, no one has been taking issue w/ this horror marketing... Until NOW. It’s important that he realize this is just the beginning of a larger stand against these kinds of images in the public sphere. If the MPAA doesn’t start to do something than the government just might.

julie

Marti Noxon said...

Here is the letter Joss Whedon sent the MPAA

Feel free to pass it on.

Marti Noxon

_________________________________


To the MPAA,
There’s a message I’m supposed to cut and paste but I imagine you’ve read it. So just let me say that the ad campaign for “Captivity” is not only a literal sign of the collapse of humanity, it’s an assault. I’ve watched plenty of horror – in fact I’ve made my share. But the advent of torture-porn and the total dehumanizing not just of women (though they always come first) but of all human beings has made horror a largely unpalatable genre. This ad campaign is part of something dangerous and repulsive, and that act of aggression has to be answered.
As a believer not only in the First Amendment but of the necessity of horror stories, I’ve always been against acts of censorship. I distrust anyone who wants to ban something ‘for the good of the public’. But this ad is part of a cycle of violence and misogyny that takes something away from the people who have to see it. It’s like being mugged (and I have been). These people flouted the basic rules of human decency. God knows the culture led them there, but we have to find our way back and we have to make them know that people will not stand for this. And the only language they speak is money. (A devastating piece in the New Yorker – not gonna do it.) So talk money. Remove the rating, and let them see how far over the edge they really are.
Thanks for reading this, if anyone did.
Sincerely, Joss Whedon.
Creator, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

Marti Noxon said...

Also - here's what I sent to the MPAA. I fear that we need to ramp up the letters to them if we want to see any kind of meaningful action.

If you haven't written, do it! And if you have, make your friend do it!

----------------------------------

Mr. Davidson,

I wanted to share with you that my friend, Joss Whedon, copied me on your considered and welcome response to his e-mail. I am one of the many organizers of the "Remove the Rating" campaign, and I've been meaning to write you myself. Thank you for your words to him. I feel that you understand, clearly, what so many other creative people like myself are feeling. Not that this movie shouldn't exist. But that we were already made to see it in a way, in an ad that told a horrifying story. Children, of course. But also women like me who have been raped, held against our will. I often think that I was raped because I was young, foolish, and went someplace I shouldn't have been. I'd rather not see people as capable of taking somebody's sense of safety and humanity away so brutally without cause. But on days when sexualized images of torture line our streets, I feel sure that I was victimized because that is what women are for. I, fortunately, escaped "termination." But what seeing an ad for CAPTIVITY does to young women's sense of self is an issue we've only started to address. I shudder to think that my young daughter might ever feel as worthless as this campaign made me feel upon first viewing.

That's my personal reaction to the ad, which thankfully, has been removed. And I am grateful to the MPAA for trying to stop it in the first place. But now the billboards that held the original ad have the words "CAPTIVITY WAS HERE" scrawled on them, with a web address. Which only strengthens my impression that Lionsgate and After Dark are trying to play those of us who've reacted to the ads. Our outrage is a tool they are trying to use to sell their film and I am sick about it. It also makes me sure that if this artful, soulless campaign succeeds -- more like it will follow.

I know you understand that censorship is not the issue here. But these companies can not be rewarded with a rating after their blatant disregard for your organization -- and every man, woman and child who had to see the images you knew were unacceptable for public space.

If there is ANYTHING I -- or Joss, or the other men and women who have reacted so strongly to this -- can do to make a further impression on this matter, please let me know.

Thank you,


Marti Noxon
Executive Producer "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Grey's Anatomy"

Josette said...

The letters from Joss Whedon and Marti Noxon really got to me. I was so repulsed by these billboards that I knew I had to do something--for my kids and other children. But now I realize that I deserve not to have to see this kind of thing too. From the moment I saw the first billboard that old knot in my stomach was back, the tightness in my throat, the fear that my nightmares and might return or worse that something like that might happen to me or someone I love again.
I see plenty of films that have violence in them, though usually not gratuitous; knowing in advance and preparing for it is helpful for me and making MY CHOICE to see it is also important to me. I feel heartsick that anyone thinks it is ok to take that choice away from me. Worse still is the idea that this company calculated the monetary cost of fines and decided it was worth it for the publicity rather than the cost to children, to those that may have flashbacked to their own experiences of violence, and really to anyone with any sensitivity left -which fortunately appears to be so many people--thank goodness people are so resilient--it gives me hope for the future!
So my point is I guess, I am hoping that you will take away the rating of this film as a deserved consequence--the only one that will remotely have any meaning to this company.
Josette

Sue Spuehler said...

I consider the billboard for Captivity no less than a psychological attack. I have carried those images and what they represent in my head for days, and have yet to stop feeling deeply unsettled, revolted and frightened by them. I am enraged that any woman was involuntarily confronted with the implicit messages in those ads: the torture of women is titillating; brutal human degradation is entertaining; a woman has no right to go about her day without being stared down by nightmarish, misogynistic imagery.

I am a fierce advocate of freedom of expression. Even as I am repulsed that some would get pleasure from viewing Captivity and other films of its ilk, I consider people's right to make them and consume them inalienable. I also believe that a humane public environment is my civil right. The Captivity billboards not only defied the authority of the MPAA within its industry, but constituted a transgression against basic standards of public civility, and an anti-social salvo against people just going about their business in this city.

I suspect that revamped local or state legislation on the limits of public imagery is the permanent answer to this worsening problem. But in the mean time, the film industry cannot risk normalizing this kind of visual terrorism, or else we will find ourselves careening down a very slippery slope.

I urge the MPAA to withhold a rating for Captivity, and thus to relegate the film to a small fringe audience and deny After Dark and Lionsgate the right to any significant profit from this abusive campaign.

Charmian Schreiner said...

It is so depressing to have to field the questions and fears of my two children and their friends about the horrific billboards that seem to be mushrooming all over Los Angeles and the Valley. Discussions and nightmares abound. I don't want to see any of these movies and I don't want my children to know anything about them. Why must they be in a public place? If people want to see these movies that is their prerogative, but leave us alone.
I am not the only one as you know. Thousands of people have weighed in on the subject, this is not your first letter of complaint.
After Dark should not be allowed a rating for Captivity. Pure and Simple. They disregarded the MPAA and put up the horrific billboards for CAPTIVITY. When they were forced by the public outcry to take them down, they placed a sign where they had been on the billboards" Captivity was here". Is there no end to their disdain?
Pull their rating and make sure they don't make their money on this film. Hit them where it hurts, in their pockets.
However my kids will still have nightmares and ask questions about the horror ads.
Among the other offenders are The Hills Have Eyes 2, Abandoned and Saw (all of them) Is there anything that can be done to curb this horror advertising? The Billboards and the Bus Shelter ads are my main concern. We have no choice but to see them as we drive our kids to school and go about our day. It is not voluntary. People who take public transportation have to place their children next to the giant face of a frightened disheveled woman in a cage. They have to prevent them from staring at a graphic billboard of dismembered bodies or scantily clad women in chains while waiting for a bus. This is not right.
Please help us curb this trend before everyone becomes used to it and our children grow to think that these images are "normal" As an adult some of them make me feel sick and I know I am not alone.
Sincerely,
Charmian Schreiner. Los Angeles. CA

Anonymous said...

I so applaud every person who comes here to share their opinion and who takes the time to write Mr. Glickman!!! I have sent emails to everybody I know in hopes that they will also come and share their concerns on this matter. I sent the following letter to Mr. Glickman. I do hope he takes this all to heart. I agree with Julie who said this is just the beginning of the voice of concern regarding the escalating violence in movies. There is something very eerie about this trend, and I for one am glad to have a forum to express my own horror at what I am seeing.

---------------------

March 26, 2007

Dear Mr. Glickman,
I am writing to voice my opinion regarding the recent concerns over the Captivity billboards. I wholeheartedly encourage the idea of removing the rating for this movie. The disregard for the impression those billboards could have on adults, let alone children, is truly a frightening example of how marketers will skirt the rules to gain some income. I myself am a graphic designer with several major entertainment companies as my clients. I know what goes into creating graphics, having them reproduced and finally displayed in their final destination. There are MANY steps to the process and there is no way that could have happened without clear forethought and intention.

Please remove the rating on this film. I believe it is the best way to send the message to all marketers that breaking the rules is not the way business should be done. I don’t want to tell these people to stop making their movies because I know there is a big audience for these types of films. But at the same time those of us who are not interested in this genre should not be subjected to the horrific images on our daily commute to work.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Regards,
Bonnie Landau
Redondo Beach, CA

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the replacement billboards, the "spraypainted" ones saying "CAPTIVITY was here," are still up? If so, where are they?

Anonymous said...

As if we needed further proof that After Dark and Lions Gate are using this protest to publicize their movie: the movie website now features two banner ads linking to stories on campaign to remove billboards in LA Times and Hollywood Reporter.

Ick! Seems clear this was their plan all along -- and clear that the only way to prove it won't work is to withhold the rating. (although here's a question: will the flap over the rating generate still more publicity that will drive more people to see it?)

We're through the looking glass here, into the scary feedback loop of 21st century media...

Elizabeth Dennehy said...

there are a certain number of people who go to these movies no matter what: if they are released straight to video, or get terrible reviews, etc. I don't think this flap will hurt or help them UNLESS they do not get a rating from the MPAA. If, after putting up these unapproved billboards the MPAA DOES give them a rating, then why would anybody else bother to get approval? they and their approval mean nothing, and the floodgates are open.. Anybody could put anything they want in the public eye, take them down due to the outrage, bask in the publicity and the safe contentment that there are no consequences for crossing the lines of human decency. In this day and age when we and our children are just a couple of mouseclicks away from seeing the executions of Daniel Pearl or Sadam Hussein in the comfort of our home, this scares me. The complacency is scaring me. The idea that one day, these image WON'T disturb my boys and give them nightmares, scares me most of all. We must do something, now. I refuse to not take action, complacency is complicity.

Jill said...

I absoluetely agree Elizabeth. Now that they are using our outrage as part of their campaign, using the idea of "breaking the MPAA's rules" as just fun ways to decorate their DVD cases, someone has to prove that this was a SERIOUS offense with serious consequences. The MPAA did not do their job, their threats were not taken seriously and so we were exposed to psychological harm on a grand scale. If they don't take action, Lions Gate, CBS Outdoor, After Dark and the MPAA will continue to deal with this rage.

The worst thing of all? That Solomon appears to be loving this. He says he doesn't get satisfaction out of torturing women? That he makes these movies to address the problems in the world of all the sick people who torture women? Somehow with his behavior in all of this, ramping up yet again with Wristcutters this week, I think he's in HEAVEN. Did somebody say Pariah Complex?

Anonymous said...

I have a serious question. If someone makes an actual snuff film -- a movie showing the actual murder of a human being -- free speech rights would not protect them. They'd go to jail. Yet the movie industry can sell images of torture and that's perfectly legal? I don't get it.

Angie said...

As a script reader for a "big three" talent agency, I was disgusted when I read the original script for CAPTIVITY, and dismayed to see the equally sickening billboards go up around town.

Re: these claims that the billboards were a mistake and people are commenting without seeing the movie, let me say that the script for the movie is as offensive as the billboards, if not more so. It's a "high concept" gimmick piece that takes place almost entirely in the room in which Cuthbert is imprisoned and tortured. In every sense of the word, the writer went for the cheap, using misogyny as the sole selling point of a movie that could essentially be made on a single set and shot for almost nothing.

This isn't a mistake, it's the end result of a project that was rotten to the core from the start. Hope this protest help prevent the next Captivity from getting to the billboard stage.

Anonymous said...

For those of you in the entertainment industry (or perhaps any lawyers here?) can you explain why it's legal for a company to profit off images of torture and murder? I really don't see much of a difference between this kind of thing and an actual snuff film.

Anonymous said...

I came upon this via The Huffington Post and my commenting might be akin to going into hell with a bucket of water, but this is fascinating to me. Something of a "Man Bites Dog" moment for Hollywood, it would seem.

Let me first say that I am in no way a misogynist or pro-torture or of any other belief set that would align itself at all with this film and/or its billboard. Really, I am a red-blooded American male that loves and appreciates women, is all for humane treatment (even of alleged terrorists), hasn’t yet seen any movies that have the words “Saw” or “Eli Roth” attached to them, and would agree that these billboards seem to be some combination of grotesque, sickening, disturbing and out and out offensive (which makes it all the more surprising to me that they were not plastered on every bus I see in NYC). Further, I am in no way of the “Bill-Donahue, Hollywood-is-controlled-by-secular-Jews-who-hate-Christianity-and-love-anal-sex” mindset, so I have absolutely no axe to grind.

That said, when have we ever looked back on an attempt to regulate speech/expression and found it to be a good idea? When have we collectively remarked, with the full benefit of hindsight, that institutional intervention was absolutely necessary and ultimately beneficial to the continuation of our society's sense of moral decency? There are too many examples of ill-determined, even ultimately laughable attempts at punishing free expression, but, off the top of my head, I can’t think of many, if any, examples in which society has benefited from the proactive penalizing of questionable taste. The irony of a Hollywood community appealing to its long-time bete noire, the MPAA ratings board, to render a movie commercially unviable on the grounds of its morally bankrupt content/marketing campaign would seem to be approaching “South Park” type of material.

I recognize a couple of things: 1) that it’s a slow day at work and that this whole affair is most certainly none of my business; 2) the marketing scheme for this film, including the “ginning up controversy” aspect of it, indeed seems wholly inappropriate on just about every level; and 3) that it’s easy for me to comment from 3,000 miles away as I don’t have any skin in the game (i.e. I have neither a family, nor do I have to live with these ads).

However, shouldn’t the consequences, “deserved” and otherwise, of successfully squelching this film in the name of establishing a baseline for the “Rules of Human Decency” be discussed and perhaps even debated in greater depth? After all, how is Soloway et. al. vs. Captivity meaningfully different than O’Reilly vs. Ludacris or Giuliani vs. Brooklyn Museum of Art, to name a few recent examples?

Sue Spuehler said...

In response to Anonymous:

"...how is Soloway et. al. vs. Captivity meaningfully different than O’Reilly vs. Ludacris or Giuliani vs. Brooklyn Museum of Art, to name a few recent examples?"

Thank you for the counterpoint. Dilemmas around freedom of expression are always thorny, which is why they must constantly be dicussed and debated. But there are substantive differences between the cases you cited and this one.

The Brooklyn Museum of Art case had to do, first off, with artworks that were housed in a museum -- visitors had a choice to see them or not. But the main issue was the public funding of material that was deemed questionable by government authorities. That is not the issue here.

The Ludacris / O'Reilly flap dealt with material that could be bought or not bought, or, if on the radio, listened to or switched off. And by the way, I'm no O'Reilly fan.

The difference for me is that this debate centers around the display of visual material in public spaces. Most of us are repulsed by torture-porn, but no one is arguing here that these filmmakers shouldn't make their films (even if we wish they wouldn't). They can make them, and people have a choice to see them or not. The MPAA ruling that was defied by the filmmakers in question dealt with the advertising for this film, not the film itself. Particularly, it is the outdoor advertising that is at issue for me, because there is no recourse for people who don't want to see the horrifying, misogynistic imagery. There it is, in your sight line as you are driving your car. There it is, plastered on a billboard across from your kid's elementary school playground.

After Dark and Lions Gate defied the MPAA's rejection of the ad material, and put it up anyway. For that, we are suggesting that a rating be withheld from the film as a punitive consequence for the flouting of the MPAA's decision and the terrorizing of people just trying to go about their business in the city.

Thank you again, Anonymous, for bringing this counterpoint to the table. And by the way, since you joined the discussion, why don't you tell all of us your name?

Sue Spuehler

Elizabeth Dennehy said...

Thanks Susan, well said. and really, thanks anonymous, it gives us "et al" an opportunity to clarify every time we answer. This issue has more in common with the restrictions on the alcohol and tobacco ads.

Rate the movie, rate the ads. Ads need to be G-rated or "suitable for all audiences", since they are being seen by "all audiences".
You wouldn't see an R-rated preview before a G-rated movie, so the same sensibility should be applied to the streets.

anonymous said...

This movie already has the only rating that matters: a "shitty movie" rating.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/captivity/

cher said...

Like so many others, I was forced to see this horrible and offensive billboard while stuck at a traffic light on the way to work. As soon as I got to the office, I called several friends in complete disbelief, trying to relate the contents of its disgusting images and ranting about how I would never want to raise children in this city.

I am all for the removal of the rating but like others have written, the issue goes deeper than the content of the billboard. The real issue is its display within the public realm. I work as an environmental graphic designer which means I design large scale graphics within the built environment covering everything from signage to sculpture in public spaces.

The amount of visual pollution that we are forced to deal with in this city just seems to be getting worse daily in terms of content and sheer volume. Its only a matter of time before we are forced to see images as grotesque as the Captivity billboards as video on huge l.e.d monitors on major streets citywide. Just look at the amount of these monitors that have proliferated on the 405 freeway in the past two years. Who controls their content?

The only way we can prevent this is to get involved at the community level. Go to your city/neighbohood planning meetings and find out about new building projects that are being submitted. Find out what type of criteria (if any) are being placed on the signage and graphics. Most importantly, let your representatives know that your city planning codes need to be revised and updated to include clauses which place restrictions on both the content and amount of public advertising.

Anonymous said...

That billboard was so hot!

Anonymous said...

Responding to Mses. Spuehler and Dennehy (with some regret, circumstances dictate I remain anonymous), the notion of a G-rated public domain, as determined by some centralized body, is problematic. Does this mean that New Yorkers will, by turn, be deprived of suggestive Calvin Klein and American Apparel billboard ads currently plastered on Houston St.? However will Mr. Klein ever be able to get people to buy his wares in the absence of his time-honored formula of posting gigantic, sexually suggestive ads in highly trafficked public urban places?

More to the point, I’m curious to know if these examples even meet your standards of violating human decency. Further, do you think a woman should be able to breast feed in a public places? And what should be done about idiotic Alaskan teens evangelizing in public about “Bong Hits 4 Jesus”?

I know how I would answer all of these questions. Do you? I want to be clear that I didn’t post on this thread to be argumentative, but I really am fascinated by this issue, probably moreso than I should be. Moreover, I completely respect your voices as parents on this issue, I’m not saying I wouldn’t have the same reaction were I a parent living in LA. But I still can’t get past the fact that there do not seem to be many precedents for seemingly judicious attempts to regulate the content of public displays. Certainly not ones that have invoked the concepts of “taste” and/or “moral decency”.

With that, I’ll be signing off. I don’t want my interest in this issue to queer the intent or purpose of this comment thread (unless, of course, you beg me to come back).

I wish your campaign the best of luck. For what it’s worth, I too think these movies are empty calorie, toxic and something of a blight on our culture (and I only know this from the ads, I don’t believe I’ve ever actually been bothered to see one). I just remain steadfastly against groups of people, whether its Bible beaters in the South or the artistic community in Hollywood, making arbitrary determinations about what is and is not appropriate for public consumption.

Anonymous said...

All you're doing is helping the movie, nice work. Way back in 1984 a slasher movie called "Silent Night, Deadly Night" came out. If you don't rember the add campain it was santa clause going into a chemney with an axe. Well, needless to say people were outraged and picketed threaters that played it. The film played for about 3 weeks untill Tri Star pulled the film even though it was doing very well (thanks to the controversy). A few month later the film made it to every video store in the country and became a cult hit.

Sean Richardson said...

anonymous - the government does not own the MPAA, and it is not directly affiliated with the government. Giving the government the power to limit free speech, even in a public place? I completely agree with you.

Here's the difference: This isn't about that, it's just business. The MPAA currently exists because film distributors voluntarily opted to create it when the spectre of mandatory government ratings were brought up. There are many, many valid issues against the MPAA, and if the producers of the film had opted to take their battle public and say "We think we *do* have the right to show this in public, this is why we think the MPAA is wrong," I'm honestly not sure what side I'd be on.

I mean, I thought 'Hostel' was a very good horror movie. I didn't like the 'Saw' series, but I do like Eli Roth's sense of humor. but I digress...

The point is simple: the distributors of this film are signatory to the MPAA. That means that they are contractually obliged to follow the mandates of the MPAA. The MPAA has a clear position, they must approve all marketing for all films (they must rate all films released by signatory companies; many non-signatory companies get rated anyway, because of realities of the marketplace). It is precisely because of incidents like this -- parents complaining, and the threat of government intervention -- that the MPAA exists.

Thus, people are prevailing upon the MPAA to follow their own rules, the rules that the distributor of 'Captivity' agreed to and then knowingly violated, and remove the rating. The fact that this will interfere with the business of the film is COMPLETELY immaterial to the argument, and I think Joss Whedon (and others) were wrong to bring it up, because it clouds the issue and makes it seem as if "lost revenue" is the punishment being requested. Not at all. "lost revenue" is the consequence of the punishment, a punishment they should've been prepared to accept when they knowingly violated the MPAA rules.

Sean Richardson said...

"For those of you in the entertainment industry (or perhaps any lawyers here?) can you explain why it's legal for a company to profit off images of torture and murder? I really don't see much of a difference between this kind of thing and an actual snuff film."

The reason a snuff film is illegal is that murder is a crime. If you commit murder, you are guilty of a crime. If you film the murder and sell copies of it, you are encouraging other people to commit and film murders because you have shown it to be a profitable business. The reason the law can not -- MUST not -- be re-written to be any more open-ended than that, to include even the most violent, but faked, torture, is because it would always be in the eye of the beholder.

I mean, forty years ago, 'Psycho' was considered unneccessarily gory. Now it's a masterpiece. Many, many, many acclaimed films have had characters die violent deaths on screen. Post-'Driving Miss Daisy', every film which has won Best Picture has had at least one violent death in, with the exception of 'A Beautiful Mind' and 'Shakespeare in Love' [which beat four highly acclaimed movies with all sorts of violent deaths in them], and *maybe* 'Crash' [I've never seen it, but I am aware of at least one major sequence which flat-out would not work if you, the audience, knew that you legally could not see a character be killed in a movie]. And, with art and entertainment, you must be prepared to take the worst in order to allow the best to exist.

Elizabeth Dennehy said...

But the ads for Psycho were not a picture of the shower scene, they were of the house.

Sean Richardson said...

Elizabeth - I may have misread the initial (anonymous) poster, it seemed as if (s)he was comparing the film itself to a snuff film, as opposed to comparing the marketing to a snuff film. The difference is still the same -- a snuff film is real, and people know it's real and get off on that fact -- but the follow-through (like 'Psycho') was based on that reading.

Jill said...

I'm not sure there's much sense in debating artistic freedoms here. No one is suggesting these types of movies shouldnt be made or seen.

The question we're asking is, who regulates what we see on billboards and are they effective? This is only about billboards, buscards and bus shelters. If I bought a billboard that said CHRISTIAN PEOPLE SUCK or I HATE JEWS or MEL GIBSON EATS ASS they would not let me put that billboard up, even if I paid for it. Not sure who wouldn't let me, but there is a governing body somewhere in this city that would disallow it. All we're asking is, does this board cede all regulation of movie billboards to the MPAA? If so, the MPAA did not do their job. There's a hole in the system and we would like to get it closed.

Of course there are First Ammendment right limits. When these people argue by saying, where do you draw the line, well, we draw the line when there's outrage in a communtiy. There was outrage in the community. Captivity went across the line, and did so flagrantly and to get publicity, then lies and said it was an accident. If these ads were an accident or embarassment to them they would not be up on their website right now.

I stand by my argument that Solomon is looking for death by some manner of public flogging. I'm happy to give it to him if it means people will be able to drive around the streets of our city without having to look at pictures of women being tortured. Just because it turns Solomon on doesn't mean the rest of us like it.

Jill said...

http://www.tmz.com/2007/03/29/captivity-audience-rebels-as-torture-porn-arouses-mpaa-fury/

it worked it worked

they will miss their release date!

we have one month before they have their MPAA ratings hearing if we wanna mobilize to stop them from ever releasing it theatrically

time to hatch more plans

Sue Spuehler said...

Congratulations, everyone. This is great news.

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117962131.html?categoryid=10&cs=1

Anonymous said...

"we have one month before they have their MPAA ratings hearing if we wanna mobilize to stop them from ever releasing it theatrically"

So basically your goal isn't just to censor the film by limiting its release by having its ratings pulled, you want to censor the film by stopping it from getting any theatrical release at all? Sounds pretty fascist to me. Why stop there? Why don't you work to stop it from getting a DVD release. And any other movie that doesn't measure up to your moral standards? And if not, why not organize disc burnings? You are the kind of people the founding fathers warned us about.

Swansong said...

I saw all this fuss before I actually saw the billboard you're all moaning about - and all I can say is; it's not even that bad - LOL! I was expecting something really graphic from they way this is getting blown all out of proportion.

Have you guys ever heard of a film called The Driller Killer? It was banned in Britain in 1984, not because it was violent or was likely to "deprave and corrupt" the viewer - but because the coverart feature someone getting drilled through the head. That was completely ridiculous and so is this. Have any of you actually seen the film yet? Does it really deserve economic censorship just because a few people were offended by a slightly nasty billboard poster?

You DO know this is going to be a massive hit on DVD, don't you?

David said...

"I stand by my argument that Solomon is looking for death by some manner of public flogging. I'm happy to give it to him if it means people will be able to drive around the streets of our city without having to look at pictures of women being tortured."

Posted by jill

There are already countries that do things like that. Maybe you can move to North Korea. I heard that Kim Jong Il is hiring.

Anonymous said...

This advocacy of censorship is an ironic position coming from a bunch of writers. Be careful what you unleash lest one day the censors come for you.

Anonymous said...

"No one is suggesting these types of movies shouldnt be made or seen."

“we have one month before they have their MPAA ratings hearing if we wanna mobilize to stop them from ever releasing it theatrically…”


I'm the anonymous poster who said I wouldn't post again, but, I apologize, such restraint's difficult to come by in light of Ms. Soloway's astonishly contradictory remarks (posted within a mere 3 hours of one another).

You see, she's right in that this whole thing has nothing to do with artistic freedoms (perhaps my fault for bringing up the Brooklyn Museum) or, for that matter, the First Amendment (no govt. involvement, therefore no 1st amendment) or whether the MPAA is entitled to take action (of course they are). This is not about who can do what, that’s all water under the bridge.

The fundamental question remains, SHOULD Soloway et. al. (I don’t mean to diminish other’s roles in this, but I really don’t have a great formulation as to how to characterize your group, any recommendations would be welcome) be in the business of summarily and authoritatively deciding that “the MPAA did not do their job” and therefore imposing decency standards on a community? If so, just recognize that this is the exact tactic that has been long-deployed by the likes of the Christian Right, among others, in their phony, often ridiculous, circle-jerk of a “culture war”. And, as you well know, it is very often deployed against Hollywood.

In some ways, I feel like I’m staring at the cover of Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends”. After all the accusations, baseless and otherwise, levied against Hollywood over the years as being a principal agent of values attrition, are offensive movie posters for “Captivity” and its sadomasochistic brethren really the last straw? Is this where the sidewalk of cultural erosion ends and where Hollywood’s own step up, join arms with the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition and help us as a society, in the words of Joss Whedon, “find our way back”?

Despite this incident, I’m confident and indeed thankful that it’s probably not. If only because I’m looking forward to the moment when I see a huge billboard on Houston and Lafayette advertising the theatrical release or, better yet, HBO mini-series of “Courtney Cox’s Asshole”.


One last point for Ms. Soloway. I’m not a lawyer, but I’m fairly certain that if you bought a billboard that said CHRISTIAN PEOPLE SUCK or I HATE JEWS or MEL GIBSON EATS ASS, that there is no “governing body somewhere…that would disallow it.” You could do this in NYC, but in all likelihood the billboard owner would not let you do it for fear of incurring the wrath of Bill Donahue, Abe Foxman or the handful of Mel Gibson apologists/Ass eaters that may exist. More importantly, they would fear losing advertisers who might take offense and would therefore most likely not do it. But it would be the forces of capitalism, not contrived regulation, that would inhibit the display of your message (you know, just in case you ever really do decide to launch a Mel Gibson as Ass-Eater campaign).

Sue Spuehler said...

In response to Anonymous,

"The fundamental question remains, SHOULD Soloway et. al. ... be in the business of summarily and authoritatively deciding that “the MPAA did not do their job” and therefore imposing decency standards on a community?"

First of all, individuals who are opposing this ad campaign are not a monolithic group nor more "authoritative" than Courtney Solomon -- not sure where you get that characterization.

Solomon imposed HIS decency standards on our community by putting up his billboards. I am countering that statement. His opinion is not unassailable just because he is an artist, or because he is running a business. We are both equal members of the public and are completely free to duke it out, mano a mano, in order to determine limits on public expression -- that's how they get set under the First Amendment, and that's what's happening here.

Those standards are arbitrary by their nature. They change over time and depend on whom you ask. And they are determined by public consensus, which is achieved through discursive – and sometimes legal—and occasionally violent – battles like this one.

I speak only for myself in saying that ALL I am concerned with here is that publicly displayed imagery on billboards, bus shelters and taxi cards do not psychologically disturb me or my family. I’m not interested in picketing the film or trying to block its release, because I can choose not to see it. This distinction apparently needs to be made over and over.

I am in favor of the MPAA imposing consequences on those who break the rules, so that the rules mean something. But I defend the right of Solomon, or any artist or advertiser to make, release, promote and profit from whatever artistic product they want to make. If their advertising forces material in my face that I don't like, however, they might get a fight from me. That is MY right.

Jill said...

The only reason I want to block the release of captivity (theatrically, that is-- the torture porn jerkoffs will be able to see it in the privacy of their homes) is because that was the stated MPAA consequence for ignoring it's rulings.

It seems that Solomon did all of this on purpose knowing that the billboards would be forced down so he could propel an ad campaign on being "censored". I simply want the regulatory board in place to do their work in a way so as not be used as a mouse in a bait game for publicity and actually give REAL consequences so that it will be respected.

Also, there are two things happening in the conversation here-- the question of what can and can't be on billboards as well as the questions about the proliferation of misogyny everywhere in our culture. I'm much more interested in the how we can create an effective feminist perspective, if not movement, without automatically being lumped in with the Christian right and the anti-Freedom of Speech people. I love that through this process we have been able to stand up for women and young women and draw a line regarding violence against us.

I think the torture porn variety of horror belongs perhaps with the sex porn industry, which we can't find on billboards. Perhaps separate out the horror genre into the monster movies from the torture-porn movies. Did Joss create that word? I think it is an interesting distinction...

Sean Richardson said...

"we have one month before they have their MPAA ratings hearing if we wanna mobilize to stop them from ever releasing it theatrically"

That's where you lose me, Jill. I will contintue to push the MPAA to punish the film fully, rather than pushing back their rating date and then rushing a rating through at the last minute to be "fair". This will likely lead to the producers choosing to greatly change their release strategy, possibly cancelling theatrical screenings. But I, personally, will not support a push to actively ban the film from being allowed public screenings. Not to say you shouldn't, that's just my personal line in the sand for this issue.

Sean Richardson said...

"I saw all this fuss before I actually saw the billboard you're all moaning about - and all I can say is; it's not even that bad - LOL!"

I'm going to pretend you didn't use "LOL" in your post, so I can treat you with any respect at all. The fact is, you, me, Joss Whedon, none of us is in a position to offer more than an opinion as to whether it's "that bad" or not. The MPAA, on the other hand, is, and they said it was "that bad", "too bad", in fact, to be released to the public.

"Have you guys ever heard of a film called The Driller Killer?"

Yes, I know exactly what that movie is, and your representation of what happened is, at best, disingenuous. 'The Driller Killer' was banned for the violence in the film, like many other films attempting to distribute in England, including 'The Evil Dead'; the violent cover art was just icing on it. (I assume you're ignorant and not lying.) The situation is also different; in England, the government regularly censors whole films, and has some bizarre criteria which include "no nunchucks". In America, the government has nothing to do with film regulation; the MPAA relationship with the studios is voluntary but legally-binding because of contracts.

"Have any of you actually seen the film yet? Does it really deserve economic censorship just because a few people were offended by a slightly nasty billboard poster?"

Look, it's perfectly simple. The distributor signs a contract with the MPAA which states, among other things, that they are obligated to have any and all marketing approved by the MPAA specifically before it is publicly used. If not, there are penalties, which include, but are not limited to, losing the rating. They agreed to this, they signed it, they violated it. If the MPAA does give them a rating, then the MPAA is neutering itself, and there is no longer *any* reason for *anybody* to listen to the MPAA. And that would be cool ... for about, oh, two years. And then, if the studios hadn't come up with a voluntary solution which quickly and effectively replaced the MPAA, the government would step in, because the angry protests of parents and such would be too strong; at different times, many members of the federal government have expressed, with regard to various media (including comic books, music, and movies) that voluntary ratings systems such as they have are the only thing that keep the government from imposing mandatory ratings.

So, yes, I do think it's important that the MPAA take care of this.

"You DO know this is going to be a massive hit on DVD, don't you?"

I, for one, don't care. I don't plan to see it, because it looks like a shitty movie, but I am likely to see 'Hostel 2', and I'm sure that I (and maybe you) am the only person here who sees a distinction between Eli Roth and whoever directed 'Captivity'.

Sean Richardson said...

"The only reason I want to block the release of captivity (theatrically, that is-- the torture porn jerkoffs will be able to see it in the privacy of their homes) is because that was the stated MPAA consequence for ignoring it's rulings."

Jill, sorry, I misunderstood you then. However, what you're saying is not strictly true. Even Joss Whedon overstated things slightly. Here's the situation:

Theater owners do not like to carry "unrated" movies, for various reasons (less audience, later screenings, increased security to present people sneaking in). But they will get released (especially an unrated movie which is getting free publicity like this). Technically speaking, if a movie is "unrated", theater owners are not supposed to let in anybody under 18, however this is less hard-and-fast than the other ratings (and, in fact, legally-speaking, there is little to prevent a theater owner/employee from violating the MPAA, since it is not a law and the MPAA has less power over theaters than over distributors).

Newspapers generally will not advertise them very prominently, but they will advertise the. There is, in fact, a growing movement (spearheaded by the new head of the MPAA, as a matter of fact) to get newspapers to accept that "NC-17" are not the same thing as porn, and that they should advertise them. [The MPAA is not lobbying in the same way on behalf of unrated movies -- for likely obvious reasons -- but they are so related in the minds of newspaper folk that unrated is getting a similar push.]

And Blockbuster carries tons of unrated movies nowadays, especially unrated horror movies; that was the most "off" JW was in what he said.

I don't think it's a realistic goal to set, getting the movie pulled from theatrical release. Getting it released unrated will damage it economically quite severely. And the good thing is, if it gets hurt at the box office, the studio will be less likely to push it on DVD, which will make it sell less, and much less likely to try these sorts of advertising shenanigans again.

And that we can all get behind.

Sean Richardson said...

"The fundamental question remains, SHOULD Soloway et. al. be in the business of summarily and authoritatively deciding that “the MPAA did not do their job” and therefore imposing decency standards on a community?"

No, but that's not what's happening.

See, you didn't actually read what's going on; admit it, you're just an angry teenager complaining about what you see as mean, mean parents keeping you and your ilk down, right? I can understand that. I remember those days. I still hate "community standards of decency". Hell, I still don't want somebody telling me that I should care at all for their five-year-old kid.

I don't.

But, like I say, not the issue. The issue is, the distributors did not do their job, did not fulfill their legal requirements. The MPAA must sign off on all advertisements. In this case, the MPAA specifically said "That is inappropriate, you can not do that." The response was to put them up anyway.

Soloway, et all of us, are just providing the MPAA with a lot of prodding to make sure they follow their own rules on this. Because, the thing is, the MPAA? They're in bed with the studios. They would be totally happy if nobody complained about this and they could ignore it. In fact, it seems as if they were ignoring it ... but that's likely not fair, they may just have been uninformed.

In any case, your entire read on the situation is wrong. It's an issue of contractual law, pure and simple. If the MPAA lets them get away with knowing violating the MPAA rules, and there is no punishment, then the rules are meaningless. Which will be nice, as I said earlier, for a year or two, before the government steps in and ratings and such become mandatory *and* bureacratically inefficient. (By then, you'll be in college, so you'll probably be watching mostly foreign films anyway; you're such a rebel.)

Anonymous said...

"I'm much more interested in the how we can create an effective feminist perspective, if not movement, without automatically being lumped in with the Christian right and the anti-Freedom of Speech people."

Thank you, Jill (If you don't mind, I'm going to call you Jill from now on instead of Ms. Soloway, else someone mistake me for a pissy adolescent as opposed to the thirtysomething strappingly handsome and articulate man that I am). I think that the sentence above cuts to the issue: perhaps because you were put in a position where you had to belatedly react to this cynical marketing effort, you and your cohorts feel that at this point removing the rating and suppressing distribution is your only real effective option. Fine, I get that, at this point in the game, what other alternatives are there?

But, for the sake of attaining your stated goals going forward, please don’t make it a habit. To foment an effective and enduring movement against misogyny will require sophisticated and appealing methods of marginalizing misogynistic content and its purveyors. Conversely, repeated attempts to regulate content, billboards and otherwise, on the basis of arbitrary determinations of “moral decency” and taste would only be stealing the cheap, to say nothing of largely ineffective, tactics from the collective playbooks of “the Christian right and the anti-Freedom of Speech people”.

As I’ve said before, I’m on your side in this whole affair (if only because I know a friend of yours), but I do take issue with the means deployed in this instance to achieve your desired end.

Best of luck with further establishing your perspective/movement.

By the way, your premise about not being able to find the sex porn industry on billboards? Well, not so much…

http://www.adrants.com/2003/08/jenna-jameson-promotes-web-site-with.php

I’m telling you, at least here in NY, there’s hope yet for that Mel Gibson Ass-Eating campaign!

RTR said...

Ok, so I'm out in Texas and have spent dinner with two of our oldest friends, who are both lawyers and completely unaffiliated with the film industry. Found it interesting that they understood the distinction we are making instantanously -- at least for me, as part of this group, I have absolutely no interest in any kind of censorship, control or content, or stifling of creative voice. This is simply about public space and the rules that govern it. Like a lot of our other friends out of state, they're passing the blog around and talking about it, and the issues it raises.

And that's the part that I like most about this -- the conversations we're having about this and the many issues that it touches on.

We have to keep talking. The MPAA has postponed he decision, but not made it. What they hear in the next few weeks will matter a lot.

Let's make some more noise.

Laeta

RTR said...

P.S. And for folks who are commenting anonymously -- remember, I enabled that function (it's not automatically turned on) to give a voice to people who were uncomfortable signing their names to their thoughts because, after all, we work in a company town. And that aside, there are lots of reasons that people might want to join a discussion without putting their name on.

In that vein, I hope that people who take advantage of being able to comment anonymously recognize in turn that "Jill Soloway et al" signed our collective names, and continue to stand publicly behind what we're doing.

Laeta

Vincent said...

Well, first time poster here.
The discussion is very interesting. I will add that I'm not American, and I don't live in America though I'm there often, and I do work in the entertainment business.
It seems to me that from a legal standpoint, there isn't much to discuss really. After Dark and Lions Gate painted themselves into a corner.
Now, there's a lot to discuss, though, about some of the things I read here, which I found a bit disturbing, in a way.
Especially, the proposed campaign to stop the theatrical release of the movie altogether.
As a reaction, it sorts of reminds me of that Italian judge who, in the 70s, ruled for the burning of all the copies of Last Tango in Paris. Literally. He demanded an actual law-sanctioned bonfire, in the name of decency, law, and law abiding citizens.
I know there are ten thousands way the two cases differs, but at the core, there are a couple of similarities.
Bottom line is, I don't think you have the right to be shielded by something that you don't like culturally. You have the right to avoid it, but you don't have the right to demand its "death" so to speak. You don't have the right to erase it. And I don't believe you have the right to put it in a ghetto either.
Cultural impulses and trends are a bit more complex than some people think.
It's not like gore horror, or extreme graphic violence, are a thing of today. They always existed.
What changed though, is that now they hit the mainstream. The public embraced them, not only in America but everywhere.
You may not like that, of course, but I don't think you have the right to demand its repression, as disturbing as you might find it.
And I noticed that people also threw around the word "snuff" in regards of horror movies too much. Even culturally, they're not even comparable. Watching a horror movie, no matter how graphic, and watching, I don't know, the video of Sadam Hussein execution, it's like day and night.
They're just, very practically, two different things.
I can't even go near the execution clip. It's something I refuse, and I consider barbaric.
However, I just had the chance to watch Eli Roth Grindhouse fake trailer, and I found that a fantastic, and brave, piece of filmaking.
So, there you go...There's a fundamental difference real life violence and movie-violence (or literature-violence, or whatever).
The difference is that one IS violence, and the other is not.
And people perceive that difference.
Well, sorry for the long and boring post, but I just felt the need to write something about this.

Vincent

Remove The Rating said...

Just a quick moment to respond to the above, very thoughtful post -- I hope I'll be able to post more fully later, but right now about to get dragged out of the house, so here goes:

I can only speak for myself when I say that this campaign, for me, is solely about removing the rating from this specific film because of a specific infringement of very clear rules about the MPAA rating system and the use of public space. I don't support trying to block theatrical release of this or any film; the release will be negatively impacted, on a very considerable scale, by being unrated, and this was a known consequence of their behavior. Lionsgate and After Dark just gambled that it wouldn't be invoked. To that, I can only say: Oops.

But it's not like this is some new, Bonfire of the Vanities sort of response. These are the rules, however sporadically enforced, and they broke them.

The corollary to that, for me, is that if we don't as an industry police ourselves in this regard --the responsible use of public space -- we will find ourselves regulated from the outside, legislatively. And if that happens, there's a very good chance that concerns of misogyny and violence will become far less weighted, and everyone will start harping about images of gay people being "indecent" and morally repugnant. What I don't want to see is irresponsible behavior on the part of Lionsgate and After Dark have legislative fallout for all of us. Because then we really will be talking about true censorship.

The use of the word "snuff" in relation to the movies is, again for me personally, not about the idea that these are comparable to actual snuff films. I agree, they're not. It's descriptive of a new kind of horror film, in which the protagonist (usually female) ends up killed, as opposed to triumphing over the terrifying thing that's pursued her and her friends through the film. Same thing with "torture" -- no one, I hope, thinks that anyone is being tortured in these films, but again, it's a new twist on the genre, much like "slasher" or "creepy kid" are sort of loosely recognized as subgenres within the larger label of horror.

I don't think we should ever, EVER, try to keep people from making or marketing those films. I personally believe that we as a culture are working out some collective unconscious feelings about torture and murder (can't imagine why) and that has given rise to the success of these films -- much as early slasher horror like FRIDAY THE 13TH and HALLOWEEN had a lot to do with teenage uneasiness about sex and violence, and our own cultural concerns about violence and women (the lone survivor was almost alwayw a woman who somehow managed to A. not have sex and B. turn the tables on the attacker and whatever extremely phallic object he was threatening her with.)

As I said, this is a much longer discussion. But what I'm trying to say is: I agree with Vincent's post. I don't think a free society can ever afford to censor its artwork, and I don't think that's what we're trying to do. But if we do have standards for public space -- and we do -- then they should be observed, not flaunted, and if they are flaunted we'd better be ready to see the government step in and legislate solutions that none of us are going to like.

Laeta

Rob said...

Sorry folks. You're completely and utterly in the wrong here from where I sit. You want to protect your child from images you dont want them to see/dont want to have to explain it to them? Buy a smoked glass motorcycle helmet and make sure he or she wears it every time they go outside. Protecting your child is YOUR responsibility. And in doing so it is your responsibilty as well to make sure that your actions dont infringe on anyone elses rights. You dont get to tell people to take stuff down just because you find it offensive. Not and live in a country with free speech, anyway. What you're promoting, given the difficulty the MPAA has made sure that unrated films have- is defacto economic censorship. And its a slippery slope we simply should not go down. Fine them for breaking the rules, sure. But you're going too far, and frankly you scare me. I'm going to have to make a point of getting as many people as I can to see this film in whatever form it gets relased so your attempt at chilling the right to free expression does not suceed. For the record, I had no intention of seeing this movie before you started this campaign. But I can't let you succeed - who knows what sort of free expression you will damage next. Oh, and to Joss - You were my idol. I wanted to be just like you in my career. And now- to find that you support this misguided attempt at economic censorship. It's a sad, sad day when one finds one idol has not just feet, but apparently calves and thighs of clay as well.

jason said...

So let me get this straight. You want to punish after dark films and those responsible for putting up the billboard because it did not give you a choice not to look at it. Your punishment of choice is to remove the rating of the film thus keeping the film out of most theaters and completely out of a few states. In doing so, the punishment has effectively taken away the choice from the filmgoer. So you're fighting for the right to choose by making it impossible for many to make a choice.

I agree that the billboard goes too far for public display but do you honestly think censoring the film in terms of seriously diminishing its accesibility to grown adults is really the answer? It sounds more like a knee-jerk, conservative reaction that, no matter how much you would like to say otherwise, comes very close to violating First Amendment rights.

Surely there's a better way to address your complaint. If the MPAA's only leverage is to remove the rating (which actually, the delay in giving it a rating thus delaying its debut sounds like another form of leverage) then you could always take the matter up outside the MPAA itself. Sue the company for public indecency. I'm sure if you all banned together you could put up the cash for a trial. Or figure out something else. Joss Whedon and Marti Noxon seem like incredibly creative people (Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one of the most creative television shows to come around in a long while). I'm for a fight against this but please don't take away my personal choice while you do it.

Vincent said...

"I can only speak for myself when I say that this campaign, for me, is solely about removing the rating from this specific film because of a specific infringement of very clear rules about the MPAA rating system and the use of public space. I don't support trying to block theatrical release of this or any film; the release will be negatively impacted, on a very considerable scale, by being unrated, and this was a known consequence of their behavior. Lionsgate and After Dark just gambled that it wouldn't be invoked. To that, I can only say: Oops.

But it's not like this is some new, Bonfire of the Vanities sort of response. These are the rules, however sporadically enforced, and they broke them.

The corollary to that, for me, is that if we don't as an industry police ourselves in this regard --the responsible use of public space -- we will find ourselves regulated from the outside, legislatively."


Oh, no, I agree with that, and of course, it really seems, as I said, that After Dark and Lionsgate painted themselves into a corner.
There's really almost no need for a debate there. Maybe there can be a debate on the kind of sanction they should get, but it's pretty obvious that there should be one.

"The use of the word "snuff" in relation to the movies is, again for me personally, not about the idea that these are comparable to actual snuff films. I agree, they're not. It's descriptive of a new kind of horror film, in which the protagonist (usually female) ends up killed, as opposed to triumphing over the terrifying thing that's pursued her and her friends through the film."

O.K. I misunderstod that. It's just that there's obviously a negative moral connotation that goes along with the definition "snuff" and I don't think any movie that's not a actually a snuff film, including Captivity, deserves that.

I'm also not entirely convinced with the claim that a film or a book with a woman as the lead character, i.e. the character with which the audience identifies the most by definition, can actually be misogynist. It can be exploitative, yes, but that's another thing.

David Aaron Clark said...

The original stated sanction is NOT to permanently remove this film from consideration for an MPAA rating, but to recognize the cynical underhandedness Lionsgate exercised in claiming to have "mistakenly" erected the rejected material. They were obviously counting on controversy & free advertising to financially outweigh any MPAA slap on the wrist. Delaying the granting of the film it's rating is not the same as refusing to rate it; what it does is make a meaningful economic impact on the Lionsgate release schedule. & economic impact is the only thing that will make them stop snickering up their sleeves. Not censorship but the equivalent of a "time-out."

What I think fair-minded, non-hysterical folk need to also police vigorously against are the errant threads of some wolves-in-sheep's-clothing here who seem to view success in this matter as a go-ahead to actually start campaigning to obliterate material they disapprove of from venues where the public has the choice to be exposed to them or not.

By the way, imitation "snuff" porn goes back to the early '70s, & softcore "torture-porn" was unreeling 24-7 at the grindhouses of Times Square as far back as the early '60s. The only thing that's changed is that "proper" Hollywood, creatively bereft as it is, has turned to longtime outlaw genres in a pathetic attempt to keep the cash flow going. I don't care if it's a "company town" because I'm not in the company; if you're going to stand up against this anonymously because you're afraid of losing some work here or there, then who really cares what you think?

Anonymous said...

This is a tricky issue no doubt, and I'm still debating honestly how I feel about. What I do feel is this:

After Dark Films needs to be punished for their flagrant abuse of the MPAA. And by abuse I mean more like, outright ignoring of.

However I am not so sure that trying to keep the film out of theaters is what needs to be done. Aren't we then also punishing he filmmaker, the cast, and the crew? Isn't that EXACTLY the wrong message to send. I don't work in the industry so I have no idea how best to hurt the distribution company but it seems like hurting the actual film is being treated as simply collateral damage.

I'll be honest, the film looks awful, not just in taste but in every way. And I very much detest the idea of labelling movies that have tortue as automatically somehow offensive to humanity. I saw and very much enjoyed Saw because it was a well constructed film. Conversely I saw 10 minutes of Hostel and shut it off, it was awful, blatant and tasteless.

A better comparison is maybe "The Hills Have Eyes". Though a remake of a classic horror film the remake was probably one of the most intense horror films I've ever seen and as described is probably the closest I have ever seen to "torture porn" yet..I have to say I thought it was excellent. For me it all comes down to wether the film has any actual merit of its own or if its just tortue and murder for the sake of itself.

Captivity deserves to be judged on its own merits (wether it has any or not) and not on the merits of a seedy and underhanded ad campaign.

The poster I'd compare to something I saw in the streets of D.C. one day as I was taking the bus home from work. An pro-life protest was going on (not unusual and I could care less about it, they have the right) and to me absolute horror they had these HUGE posters of torn apart babies, and most terrible of all was this was right in front of the Holocaust Museum where thousands of schoolkids come in and out. Those posters gave ME nightmares, I can't imagine what they did to kids. So I can understand the outrage people felt on seeing the billboards for Captivity. They are 100% unacceptable. However I feel the solution being attempted here is not the answer. I don't know what is.

-Chris

Vincent said...

I found this on the blog entry above this one:

"Anonymous ha detto...
Fred yes thank God you do live in Europe. I believe we will see you in thailand with a lime green speedo and 2 little boys on the beach. Sorry if the US has morals unlike your sad depressed area of the world."

It's an example, and not the only one, or the very thing I find ambiguous and a bit disturbing of all this.
If I can make a suggestion you have to make it clear, among yorself as a group as well, if this is a legal industry issue regarding the role of the MPAA in American filmaking, or if it is a moral issue.
If it's a legal issue you are absolutely right of course, the sditution is clear, if it's a moral issue you're knocking on a very, very, and let me stress one more time, VERY dangerous door, and if that door opens you might not like what comes out...
Trying to find a way to silence, or actively damage something that you dislike
culturally, it's, wether you like it or not, something deeply reactionary at the core.
Show where you stand about this. Make it clear.

And, Anonymous poster above me, I do agree with you. I do believe that there are issues regarding the damages for the people who actually worked on the film to discuss. Unlike public perception, not everyone who works in entertainment bathe in gold. Some are actually working people, who needs a job to make a living.
And, yes, The Hills Have Eyes was quite good, and graphic violence in movie does not equal "amorality", wether some find it offensive or not.

Rob said...

Actually, it doesn't matter whether the reason is legal or moral. Opressive organizations will take the precedent you are trying to set here and use it against materail that THEY (and not necessarily you) would find offensive until film is reduced to the blandest, least offensive pap imaginable. At that alone is sufficent reason to abandon your efforts. You are knocing on a door that you (and assuredly I) DO NOT want opened.

Dougie14th said...

I'll start off by saying I'm entirely against this ad campaign. I believe in free speech. However, displaying graphic images in public places isn't appropiate and doesn't fall under the category of free speech. It's just a cheap marketing ploy, and while I don't find the ads particularly that bad, I respect the fact that many people do and were offended by them.

The same thing happened to me when I walked out of a mall last year and a group of Greenpeace or PETA (don't know who they are) set up a video of a pig being slauthered in a meat factory. I agree with their cause, but I shouldn't have been forced to view this video against my will. It was disturbing and I've never forgot it.

However, this situation has gotten way too out of hand. Removing the rating of the movie is way too far! What people fail to realize is that there are tons of people who worked on this movie. Directors, actors, writers, all slaved away on this. To remove the rating punishes the whole film crew, when in actuality the ads were probably the fault of ad executives or employees of Lionsgate. It's not fair to punish everyone else who put work into this film. I'm surprised that Josh Whedon actually wants this film to be released without a rating. He works within the film industry and should have a better understanding.

I don't think anybody here really cares about the fact that they put up these ads. The ads were taken down. That should be good enough. If it isn't, punish those responsible for the ads. Instead of copying and pasting some letter to Dan Glickman, take some time and figure out who was responsible for the ads and try punishing them (I mean legally). I think you people just hate this new breed of torture horror and want to destroy it. I'm not a fan myself, but it seems as if everyone just wants this out of theatres and is now moving on to "Wristcutters" or whatever that other movie mentioned was. They hate these movies and are looking for any excuse to ban them or limit their release. The whole idea behind this site is cruel: you're trying to punish a group of people because of the actions of a select few.

This isn't even that big an issue. There are bigger ones around folks. Global warming is going to end the world. Children are being forced to join armies in third world countries. There are starving people. Why focus so much time on something that doesn't matter that much in the grand scale of things. Yes, getting the ads down is reasonable, but taking the time to try ruining the movie's chances of success is just dumb.

Plus, we shouldn't be promoting the MPAA. They shouldn't be allowed to decide what is or isn't appropiate. Yes, there should be a way of monitoring what is put in public places, but the MPAA is a corrupt organization.

Anonymous said...

I find it humorous that writers with shows on prime time where any child can see it, who put lesbian scenes in said show which are going to be far more difficult to explain to a young child have some kind of problem with this billboard. Freedom of speech is absolute, you don't have to like it, but damn you all for wanting to deny my rights to see whatever I want because it offends you. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU for your hypocrytical stance on this. How dare you rally against anything involve decrying this poster, you don't seem to have a problem with all the pornography billboards lining the 405 or what about all the billboards for the Spearmint Rhino strip club, no problems there. You're all just hoping by kissing the collective ass of the MPAA they'll scratch your back later, I get it. But you people should be absolutly ashamed of yourselves.

David Aaron Clark said...

Jason, et al, read my lips: What can't certain people GET about the fact that Lionsgate is allowed to reapply for a rating -- which the company obviously will do? They are being financially hurt by missing their release date, but they have not been shut out of the system. It is a SANCTION, not CENSORSHIP. As well, the crew, actors etc etc have presumably all been paid, so the smokescreen argument of "hurting the innocent 'little people,' too" doesn't apply. As if Lionsgate itself would care about that.

BTW, does anybody here realize this film, which has already been reviewed very badly on aintitcoolnews, is directed by the once great Roland "Killing Fields" Joffe? & that though evidently distasteful, that the worst images from the billboard DON'T EVEN APPEAR IN THE FILM?

Finally, how charming that a certain amount of folk posting here equate a billboard depicting a woman in sexy, revealing clothing with a woman being sexually tortured, mutilated & killed. Wouldn't wanna be sitting too close to YOU at the multiplex ...

Dougie14th said...

"They are being financially hurt by missing their release date, but they have not been shut out of the system"

That's good in my opinion. They've been financially hurt. Leave it at that. It doesn't have to go any further.

"As well, the crew, actors etc etc have presumably all been paid, so the smokescreen argument of "hurting the innocent 'little people,' too" doesn't apply"

It's not about the money. They've all been paid of course. However, they want their movie to be viewed. They want people to watch it. Writers and directors make art so it can be viewed. As well, if it does bad, the director, actors and writers are all going to have trouble getting work.

"As if Lionsgate itself would care about that"

They don't, but that's besides the point.

"BTW, does anybody here realize this film, which has already been reviewed very badly on aintitcoolnews"

Aint It Cool News is the worst review site. It's become obvious studios have been paying them to give favorable reviews. Look through the review section. Nearly every movie has positive feedback. They are unreliable, although I don't think the movie will be good. I'm expecting bad reviews, but we need a more reliable source.

"Finally, how charming that a certain amount of folk posting here equate a billboard depicting a woman in sexy, revealing clothing with a woman being sexually tortured, mutilated & killed"

I agree the latter is worse.

Anonymous said...

"Jason, et al, read my lips: What can't certain people GET about the fact that Lionsgate is allowed to reapply for a rating -- which the company obviously will do? They are being financially hurt by missing their release date, but they have not been shut out of the system. It is a SANCTION, not CENSORSHIP. As well, the crew, actors etc etc have presumably all been paid, so the smokescreen argument of "hurting the innocent 'little people,' too" doesn't apply. As if Lionsgate itself would care about that."


First off, talking down to people is doing nothing in the way of getting your opinion across. Understand that not everyone here is part of the business. And even if they were, if Lionsgate is losing money then people in involved with the film are losing money too. At least I would think, contracts differ and such, but I am sure there are percentages involved. Regardless of that, much of what was said here is a response to the calls for "more to be done" there has been talk here of trying to keep this film from being rated altogether. As you and I well know, that would seriously damage the money and visibility this film could make. It deserves every chance to succeed as does any film.

"BTW, does anybody here realize this film, which has already been reviewed very badly on aintitcoolnews, is directed by the once great Roland "Killing Fields" Joffe? & that though evidently distasteful, that the worst images from the billboard DON'T EVEN APPEAR IN THE FILM?"

Didn't know but I am not suprised, its common for this to be the case. My how far Roland has fallen though. As for AICN, not exactly a trustworthy review site. Rottentomatoes is my gauge for that purpose since its a pool of many critics.

"Finally, how charming that a certain amount of folk posting here equate a billboard depicting a woman in sexy, revealing clothing with a woman being sexually tortured, mutilated & killed. Wouldn't wanna be sitting too close to YOU at the multiplex ... "
Aside from a few idiots, I haven't seen anyone who posted a serious comment here say such a thing. At least no one has made the correlation in the manner your talking about. I think some people were possibly equating the two in terms of being degrading to women. I'm not gonna get into arguing that, but its a valid POV, however I don't think anyone said that this billboard isn't far worse for its dehumanizing aspects. Its not just degrading, its dehumanizing.
-Chris

Josh said...

"I'm the anonymous poster who said I wouldn't post again, but, I apologize, such restraint's difficult to come by in light of Ms. Soloway's astonishly contradictory remarks (posted within a mere 3 hours of one another)."

Actually, if you look at those "remarks" in context, they don't contradict each other at all.

One is referring to torture movies in general:

"No one is suggesting these types of movies shouldnt be made or seen."

The other is referring to the specific case of the torture film CAPTIVITY which broke the rules of the MPAA by advertising a rejected campaign featuring very unsubtle images of a woman being murdered, aka the centerpiece of this whole discussion:

“we have one month before they have their MPAA ratings hearing if we wanna mobilize to stop them from ever releasing it theatrically…”


You're just not smart Mr. Anonymous. Not clever, not insightful, and clearly not very observant. Just admit that your name is Courtney Solomon and get it over with.

We know you're watching Courtney.

PS: When is Dungeons and Dragons 2 coming out?

Ace38 said...

I'm not really sure where the First Amendment applies here..more misuse of the Constitutions intent. The First Amendment is there to protect the people from Government reprisals on political speech. You cannot yell fire in a crowded theater when there is not one...yet, if there was true "freedom of speech", you could. Private entities (such as the MPAA) and private citizens have the right to act (as this group is doing) when they see or hear something they are opposed to. I keep seeing the "if you dont like it, dont see it" crowd referring to them as censors. Wrong, theyre exercising THEIR right to act. After Dark agreed to the MPAA's rules, then decided to circumvent them. If you did that with any organization, you'd be punished..thats exactly what's happening here. Should the film be removed from theatrical distribution? I don't know..it's not for me to decide, the MPAA has that rule and it'll be up to them to decide, not me. But if I wanted to push and lobby for it, or against it, then thats my right. So called freedom of speech works both ways people.

Vincent said...

To Rob,

Well first of all, I didn't put my signature on the remove the rating letter, I'm not an American citizen, and as I said, while I'm in America often, I don't live there.
I can even tell you that if I did, and after having read through the posts on this site, I wouldn't sign it.
Legally, After Dark signed a contract and then they didn't respect it. It's that simple. There aren't many ways around it.
But as a moral battle, I'm sorry, I really do feel this is a very dangerous thing for anybody, and for artists in particular, to subscribe too.
And the reason why I wouldn't sign the letter, it's because it does feel to me like this is a moral battle, fought with a (legitimate) legal weapon.
It's the moral root of this campaign I have problems with, because, at the end of the day, I do feel it touches on issues regarding freedom of expression.
And I know that community standards and kids, and I do care about those things. I care so much, that I want all kids to grow in a society where the whole limitless universe of culture is free and not feared. The whole of it, not just the parts that I like, I recognize myself in, or I'm more confortable with. Because that society is healthy. And free.
And on the subject of preventing the theatrical release of Captivity, which has been brought up again by Josh above me, how do you plan to move on with that?
I don't believe MPAA has the power to stop the releasing of a movie, and it's up to the theatres, or theatre chains, to choose if showing an unrated, or NC-17, film, or not.
So, I'm guessing, and correct me if I'm wrong, you plan on putting pressure on the theatre chains to not give the unrated film visibility. I'm also guessing, that, out of coherence, you will do the same for any other potentially unrated film that might get distribution in US in the future.
You're free to do that, of course, but where does that leave you? I feel that the people and artists involved in this campaign should ask themselves this question, because, after all is said and done, that's the core of the whole thing.

Rob said...

To Vincent-

I dont get how you thought I was SUPPORTING this misguided attempt at defacto economic censorship. Like you, I am HORRIFIED by it, and will do my level best to get as many people as possible to see this movie (A movie, I might add, that I was intending to completely ignore before all this brouhaha) so that this campaign fails. Its wrong morally, and ethically (and frankly unless and until I see the contract that After Dark signed, I suspect legally as well) and sets an EXTREMELY dangerous precedent, and therefore must not succeed.

Jason said...

To David Aaron Clark:

I'm not entirely sure which original sanction you speak of but everything that I've read on this blog points to the MPAA not giving the film AT ANY POINT. Here's a quote from the introduction post made on March 22:


What we're suggesting below is simple: REMOVE THE RATING.

The MPAA didn't approve this ad campaign. On the contrary, they said it violated their guidelines. But it went up anyway. For ignoring the standards set by the MPAA, we think the only consequence that matters is the one the MPAA can levy -- withholding or removing the rating of the film.

Unrated films cannot be shown in most major theaters. Most major publications will not advertise for an unrated film. Many rental agencies, like BLOCKBUSTER, will not carry an unrated film. It's possible that the makers of CAPTIVITY will find they can make no money at all from their film...

The only thing that will dissuade this kind of behavior in the future is for it to be made unprofitable.


I'm sorry but how is this merely sanctioning the film? It even goes so far as to suggest that film should be inaccessible in the largest video store chain in the nation.

If this campaign was merely for the sake of a sanction shouldn't it have been completed when the MPAA announced they would delay giving the film a rating? Another quote posted on March 30 regarding the MPAA's decision:

Although this is a victory for us -- we're definitely being heard -- it's also only an interim step. It matters that we continue to be heard on this issue, and continue making our arguments to the MPAA as the process moves forward.

So the sanction was only an interim step. I'm not sure how, after reading through all this material, you can still say that this campaign is not trying to get the MPAA to permanently refuse to give this film a rating.

To ace38:

The First Amendment, through many Supreme Court decisions, has been expanded to include a number of different areas where there is the possibility of censorship. Check out this material from Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_amendment#Freedom_of_speech

However, for the sake of this argument, lets drop all talk about the first amendment or freedom of speech. You make the case that the people behind this campaign are not censors. Then what are they? Unofficial upholders of the MPAA's policies? As mentioned in the response to Mr. Clark above, this campaign has directly requested that the film be released unrated thus effectively removing the film from being theatrically distributed in much of the US. They may not have intended to be censors when they started this campaign but that is surely what they have ended up being.

jason

Anonymous said...

You know what?
If Bush tells you to go jump infront of a shooting man, do you jump infront of a shooting man?
No you don't.
So if the MPAA tells you, you cannot put up these "absolutely not shocking" posters..., by all means, if you think they aren't shocking either, put them up.
Who the fuck does the MPAA think they are to tell us what is shocking and that we as a flock of dumbass sheep have to follow they're word.
I have a little daughter, whom I constantly explain things to.
That's what a parent is fucking supposed to do asshole!
You tell the child everything it's supposed to know to get through this life. To become a well balanced and knowledgable person. You explain death, love, fear, happiness, sadness, anger and every other emotion or action there is on aerth, in humanity or else where in the universe.
If my daughter, who is 3, asks me how a child is made, I explain her how it's made. Fuck the stalk or the cabbage. A child is made through sex, when 2 people love each other.
I tell her that if she doesn't watch out crossing the street...,m she could die by being overrun by a car.
On being asked what diying is, I tell her what it is.
It's when your body stops working. It's when you can't see, hug or play with your friends and parents anymore. It's when you stop being and then we bury you. That means, we put you under the ground, after which your body starts to rot and all the little insects eat the body up. Just like we eat food, the bugs need food to.
Kids are supposed to ask stuff, that's how they learn.
And if all you shithead parents who don't know how to answer stuff or just freak out by any question ever asked by your child, you shouldn't have become a parent and you surely shouldn't be a member of the human race.
Beacause only through inventiveness and curiosity, we have become the leading mammal of the planet.
By the way..., on getting back to the posters of captivity..., that's bullshit they're shocking!
You see 2 pictures with a womans face, then a face with a cloth on it with some straw coming out of her mouth and then a sleeping lady.
What's so hard about explaining a child that, if you want to lie, go ahead, lie.
Tell your child that it's a picture of a lady looking at something, then drinking something and then sleeping.
Or if you take our job as a parent seriously..., you tell your child what it really is.
Sometimes, bad people kidnap other people.
They hurt them and then kill them. And that's why you should always watch out with who you talk or walk with.
Don't accept sweets from someone you don't know. Beacause you wouldn't want to die right?
Daddy loves you too much. I still want to hug you every day.
My daughter just hugs me then and talks about a new issue. Like why is chocolate brown?
Some parents really make some issues sooo fucking big, they collapse under it's own weight.
And those parents are the humanity and knowledge destroyers that created the MPAA.

The whole reason why the war is still going on in Irak and so many americans are still diying, is because everybody is so fucking scared of seeing death.
So the news doesn't show death, so the people think nobody is diying there.
So Bush get's away with saying things like, everything is fine there, nobody is diying!
I mean really!
Fucking get real people!!!!
Life is about emotion. Shock, learning and curiosity.
Life is about living and letting live.
Life is about the ability to evolve around anything that comes infront of your way, without right away wanting to annihilate it!
Set a real standard of what is too far and what isn't.
Those posters weren't too far. And the MPAA had no right to forbid the posters.
A real photo of a rotting corpse which is recognisable as a human being, with all his intestines falling out..., that's far.
Or a close up of a hard cock penetrating a wet, pink pussy..., that's far.
Not a drawing of a girl liying down with her eyes closed!
And once more, you're a fool if you can't explain what it is you're seeing to a child that hungers for knowledge and information.

Over and out..., Silvain

Hannah Strom-Martin said...

Hi. I'm a fantasy/pop culture/horror writer and huge fan of Joss Whedon. Completely unaware of the controversy surrounding the upcoming snuff film--I mean, film, "Captivity" I too have noticed the disturbing rise of horror porn in America and published the following article last week:

http://bohemian.com/bohemian/03.28.07/gorno-cinema-0713.html

I am so glad to know I'm not alone in my disturbed-ness! This sick fetish we as a society are developing is unacceptable! Thank you for speaking out against it!

Hannah Strom-Martin

My posting name will link to the article....

Sean Richardson said...

Since the last time I was here, a lot of people came from AICn and said basically the same thing, so I'm just going to respond to one of them, but, really, it's to all of you.

"That's good in my opinion. They've been financially hurt. Leave it at that. It doesn't have to go any further."

No, if it does impact their release date, they might be slightly hurt, but that will be offset by publicity; in the long run, that won't actually affect them. Additionally, my personal belief is that the MPAA issued that statement in order to placate people who were complaining and that, since the studios essentially own and run the MPAA, 'Captivity' will be given a speedy rating at the last minute and be allowed to be released.

Preventing that from happening is a very, very good reason to keep this push alive.

"It's not about the money. They've all been paid of course. However, they want their movie to be viewed. They want people to watch it. Writers and directors make art so it can be viewed. As well, if it does bad, the director, actors and writers are all going to have trouble getting work."

That's bullshit, because you're blaming the MPAA for what is After Dark films' fault.

They signed a contract. The contract explained that the penalty for using advertising not explicitly approved by the MPAA -- let alone out-and-out denied -- would be losing, or denying, a rating. Thus, people are calling upon the MPAA to follow its own rules in order to prevent companies from doing this in the future.

I agree the people who made the film should sue After Dark, because they followed through on their end in good faith, and After Dark acted in bad faith.

""As if Lionsgate itself would care about that"

They don't, but that's besides the point."

Lions' Gate has nothing to do with it; in fact, given that they're the video distributors, it being released in theaters unrated would help Lions' Gate.

People who are crying censorship are stupid; if you get in bed with the MPAA, which you do when you sign the contracts with them or even just agree to produce a movie for a signatory company, you have to follow their rules. If you don't, you're economically censoring yourself.

If the MPAA does not follow their own rules, then they are entirely worthless and should be replaced. There's plenty of reason to hate the MPAA, and if they do not follow their own rules in this case, that's just one more example of their hypocrisy. But just because you believe (as I do) that they are hypocrites does not mean you should encourage them to be bigger hypocrites.

elizabeth dennehy said...

It is difficult to regulate media.
This is not a good enough reason to NOT regulate.
I have 2 boys who are 8 and 10. they know what a billboard is and they know when one is advertising a movie. They can read the words and they know what torture means. They know that the lady's face is wrapped in a bandage except for her terrified eyes and that her blood is being sucked out of her body through tubes in her nostrils, and that in the next picture she is dead. The questions I get asked in the car are "Who would want to see a movie about a woman being tortured?" or "Why is it always women in these movies who are scared?" My answers go something like this,
"Well, there are people in the world who like to watch horror movies", and "that's a very good question. Well, there are people in the world who need to feel powerful and watching women who are scared and being tortured makes them feel more powerful."

It is my job to prepare them and explain the ways the world. When we see a car accident, or a homeless person, or someone being led off in handcuffs, the inevitable parade of life in an urban center with which we are confronted every day, we have conversations about what they are seeing and how to deal with it.I don't expect anybody to do my job for me. but does it have to be made so much harder? If someone puts up a billboard, it is not an inevitable fleeting occurence, there was a premeditated choice made by someone else who has decided to what my family will be exposed; if I believe it has crossed the line by giving my children sobbing nightmares I have a right to complain.. and when I find out that the billboard went up without approval from the governing body charged with that responsibility I have a right to demand that there are consequences for that infraction. Those consequences of denying a rating were created by the MPAA, not us. that was the MPAA threat for not following the rules, not ours, we merely suggest they follow through on this threat otherwise their approval is meaningless and anybody can put anything up they like. It's not like After dark/Lionsgate didn't have any options. this issue has as much to to do with censorship and first amendment rights as the restrictions guiding the advertising of alcohol and cigarettes.
People say, I just tell my kids that's an actress, and that's fake blood, and it's all fake and she's not REALLY being killed.
I WANT my children to be disturbed by the images of a woman being tortured, because what happens when they no longer AREN'T? when they no longer see anything wrong with it? why are the films rated? why are the video games rated? why do we not see porn advertised on the streets? It's not appropriate for all eyes. apply the same sensibility to the ads. There's not a single G-rated "suitable for all audiences" image from "Dead Silence"? As my good friend Richard Schenkman says " what movie was scarier than Alien? And what was the ad? an egg with a crack in it".

The 5 year olds of today who no one wants to think about; grow up to be the 10 year olds of tomorrow; one of whom may hit his friend over the head with a baseball bat because he didn't know it could kill, or bring a gun to school, or plot a bombing threat, and everyone wrings their hands whining "where were the parents? "Why can't they do their job?"


I am not going to be more concerned about the people who worked on this film than I am about my kids. That was the responsibility of the filmmakers and thy have all been paid and moved on to other jobs.
I am not going to be more concerned about their rights to express themselves than I am about what their expression is saying to my children.

Daniel said...

This is a double post from another story here. I didn't realize there was a specific comments section, apologies.

While I agree with you that this billboard is abhorrent and that within the constraints of the MPAA it should be punished, there is a problem. The MPAA is an artificial and unfair construct and to simply accept the validity of a flawed body as a basis for an argument is an invalid starting point. In basis, it is a logical fallacy and thus, everything flowing from it is suspect and a victim of fractured logic.

Yes, the MPAA has every right to police public advertising. Unfortunately, what it also does is act as a form of economic censorship for films with values that challenge social norms. To accept this ruling body without the noting that the board itself is sexist, homophobic and arbitrary is problematic for me.

Daniel said...

I think many of you have a misunderstanding of where these horror films are coming from. they aren't so much about hating women (though, that is a component of some, usually the more homo-erotic fare) they are a response to xenophobia in a post 9/11 world.

what follows is an essay I wrote in the form of a review of the recent, "Turistas"

The current crop of so called “torture porn” films are to be expected. A situation like that shown in the phenomenally popular “Hostel” and “Saw” franchises is a reaction to stresses of the world.

Tom Savini famously commented that all of his effects work was based on what he saw, and took meticulous photographs of, in the Vietnam War. The prevalence of the Slasher genre in the 80’s is often seen as a reflection of the societal backlash from the sexually open hippy era to a point where sex was again something to be feared. The slasher, reinforcing these values was a creation of cold war paranoia. Freddy, Jason and Michael were just manifestations of the seemingly indestructible force of communism—a monolithic beast ready to destroy the All-American kids and take away the future of an entire generation.

In the slasher films the enemy was clear and the motivation was simple because America knew “They” were the bad guys and we were the good guys. Things were clear cut and there was a linear path between problem and solution.

That is no longer the case.

Today, we have been weaned on paranoia. Anyone could be a “sleeper-cell” hiding in our neighborhood. Anyone we pass on the street could be planning to make some homemade explosive and put it in his or her shoe. The enemy is no longer a nation. No longer some clear cut “Them” whom we can gather together to hate. We have been taught that the Muslim faith is not the enemy (while simultaneously told that it more or less is) and that we cannot possibly try to fight a war against the religion. So what are we left with?

“Saw” and “Hostel” and “Turistas” especially all deal with this problem. Where once the teenagers who had committed some sin would be punished while the sober virgin would survive now the victim is most often a completely innocent person. Also, the murder is not its own end any longer, the torture that comes first more than the inevitable final blow is the focus. Terrorism works this same way. It is not the number of people killed, it is the fear this instills in those still alive.

It is important to note the prevalence of the idea of games in these films. From an outside perspective, there is a sort of art and beauty to the simplicity of the 9/11 attacks. The most effective moments in the “Saw” films recreate this effect. Basic tools turned against their makers. A child’s clay made into a facsimile of a box. Box-knives into weapons used to kill thousands. A videogame as instruction. All of these become puzzle-pieces to the twisted games of the madmen on screen in these “torture” films. And the monster is no longer some giant oaf. He is smarter than you, and in the case of Jigsaw and the Doctor in “Turistas” he is going to literally convert you to his way of thinking.

To ignore the messages of a film like “Turistas” or any of the other torture based horror films is to ignore what could well be the central problem of our modern world. Horror films are one of the most telling signs of what a society is grappling with at any given moment, even as, or perhaps because, they are rarely appreciated until generations later.

“Turistas” is the latest entry into the torture horror subgenre. However, unlike its predecessors, this film seems almost uninteresting in its’ gory bits. There is a feeling of an adventure chase film from the 80’s with organ removal added onto it. Like many similar films, “Turistas” starts off with some somewhat developed main characters traveling abroad and finding their way into what amounts to a Venus fly trap. Here, the twenty-somethings are Caucasian tourists in Brazil who are abducted by an evil doctor who wants to take their organs so that they can “give back” to the country they are taking so much from.

When this film was released there was some talk of it being racist or unfair to Brazilians. But to interpret the film in this manner would be to deeply undersell its point. Ultimately, this is a film about xenophobia. Brazil is used as a sort of shorthand for the protagonists eroticizing foreign culture while extolling their own ethnocentrism and assuming that the locals will just do whatever is requested because of the European nation’s dominance in South America. One man sleeps with a woman presuming she must want him because he is a foreigner and is shocked to discover that she is a prostitute and wanted him for his money. The underlying irony is that in either situation, her agenda is identical. It is also worth noting that only one of the main characters even bothered to learn Portuguese, while the others continually yell in broken Spanish, unaware of their own idiocy.

“Turistas” deals with deep seeded issues of disenfranchisement and subjugation. The organs taken from the youths are little more than extensions of Shylock’s demand for a pound of flesh. The Brazilian characters are almost never subtitled and most of the discomfort and terror that an audience is likely to feel results from our collective ignorance of foreign cultures. The assumption that people outside of our own circle of European white culture are somehow less civilized or boorish is played off of to great effect.

Our own ethnocentrism is challenged with the character of “Kiko” who is at first played for comic relief because of his fractured English. He seems almost slow or “special” if you will. As the story progresses however, he is shown to be the moral center of the feature, choosing to protect the protagonists from a fate too terrible for words.

This is certainly the best looking of the torture horror films (thanks to the steady directorial hand of John Stockwell) and for as much as it has been compared to “Hostel” and “Saw” it is more derivative of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” than anything else.

Even with these faults and the added baggage of abundant brutality towards women and some logical jumps in the narrative, “Turistas” stands on its own as an above average thriller thanks to its claustrophobic and tense final act where the surviving characters desperately try escape through a series of underwater tunnels. The tension is palpable and effect is gripping.

“Turistas” is not a revolutionary film but it is definitely underrated (IMDB currently has it listed at a 3.0 average). There are some excellent set pieces and plenty to think about if you look beneath the surface.

for the rest go to
http://www.collider.com/dvd/reviews/archive_detail.asp
/aid/3687/tcid/3

Elizabeth Dennehy said...

All well and good, but keep the ads G-rated!

Anonymous said...

It think it's telling, and a bit ironic that this film is chosen to attack because it has a woman on the poster and yet many of the arguments attack the genre in general. Folks are quick to mention Saw and Hostel and yet most of the victims (and the primary victims at that) in those films were male. An informed look at the slasher genre would reveal that in general most of the "victims" are pretty evenly split by gender, while usually the survivor who overcomes the villain is usually female. Yet many comments keep bringing up "misogyny" and "violence against women" as reasons they don't like these films? Does this come from ignorance or just a general feeling that male victims in a horror film are acceptable while female victims are not?

And, since it seems that a lot of folks here haven't in fact seen many horror films, even in the films that have female victims, it's not about watching someone get tortured, it's about evil, and eventually one or more character finding the strength to overcome the evil against overwhelming odds. These films don't end after a few characters are killed, they end when the surviving characters come back to defeat the villain.

Daniel said...

The issue isn't who is being killed, it's how and for what reason. I am a stanch supporter of horror films, but I must admit that the violence towards women in many of these films is more intense than it is towards men.

Vincent said...

I don't think many horror filmakers would agree with Daniel's political analisys of their work, but never mind... :)

Actually, I'm seeing the word "hatred" used a lot here, regarding this genre, but it's a misinterpetation.
If I'm writing, or directing, something from the point of view of a certain character, there can't be hatred on my side toward him or her, no matter what happens in the script. And there's no hatred in the audience as well, because people are put emotionally right next to the character.
This is true for Captivity as well, if, as I seem to understand, we see the facts happening through the eyes, and through the point of view, of Elisha Cuthbert's character, and not through her tormentor's.
For example, the big issue with a show like 24, especially in Europe, it's not the torture scenes per se, it's the fact that the audience is brought to see everthing, most of the time, through the eyes of the torturers, and their acts are somehow justified, because, hey, they're saving the world. The audience is brought to be emotionally next to Jack Bauer, as he cuts off someone's fingers.
In movies like Hostel, the dynamic is the opposite.
Of course, this has nothing to with the Remove the Rating campaign, so I'm sorry...But I felt like giving my two cents about this as well...

Anonymous said...

""Why is it always women in these movies who are scared?" My answers go something like this,
"


Actually, not to cut down this very good question, but I've noticed that with the advent of these gritty horror films (Saw was the founder of this genre to my knowledge) this disturbing trend is actually far less common than it used to be. Captivity aside. The films I have seen of this ilk (which is admittedly few, I am not really a fan of horror in general) were more equal opportunity than slasher films of the old days.

Saw for example, had only one female victim and she was the lone survivor of Jigsaw's little games. Compared to at least 6 male victims. Slasher films however were all about punishing the female, I mean Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th? Those were the worst. So to me its more about this specific billboard, and this specific film. I haven't seen the film or read the script nor do I wish to but from what I've been able to ascertain the entire movie is about one victim? Thats pretty unusual.

I just want to see the right party is hurt by the actions taken. MPAA rules or not, the filmakers and crew/cast are collateral damage to a certain extent it seems. Maybe its the case that its just not possible to punish After Dark without also punishing the cast and crew. However I can't imagine there isn't some way to see them pay for the mistakes and lessen the potential impact on the cast and crew.
-Chris

Daniel said...

Vincent you miss the point. The subtext exists whether it is intentional or not. Many filmmakers have looked back on their work years later and realized that there were elements of their films, especially horror films, that were dealing with major social issues, even if these subtexts were unintentional.

I know when I write I can't always figure out exactly what I'm trying to say until I can see the whole picture. But on a larger scale, look at the horror films of the 70's. They are pretty much all responses to the Vietnam war. Horror of the 50's dealt with fears of Nuclear war and communism. Horror of the 30's dealt with the rise of the industrial age and the ensuing dehumanization.

The 90's are arguable. The 90's were weird. The main movement there was an ironic detachment. A sort of post-modern consumerist feeling of entitlement. The best horror films were about characters who knew they were in horror films. They knew they were just a product to be bought and sold. It became a sort of hyper-reality in that sense.

Anonymous said...

Daniel said...
"The issue isn't who is being killed, it's how and for what reason. I am a stanch supporter of horror films, but I must admit that the violence toward women in many of these films is more intense than it is toward men"

Would you mind elaborating, perhaps with examples? Sounds to me like you are basing this on a common misconception. I can list dozens, if not hundreds of films where the male victims are killed in much more brutal and graphic ways than the female victims. The two most discussed here, Saw and Hostel are just two of many, many examples.

Anonymous said...
"Slasher films however were all about punishing the female, I mean Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th? Those were the worst."

How so? In Nightmare on Elm Street there were 4 "victims", 2 male and 2 female. The bloodies death was of course that of Johnny Depp's character. As typical, the "hero" who defeats the killer was a female. Friday the 13th had 5 male victims and only 4 female victims, and this in a film where both the killer and the protagonist were female.

I think the slasher genre in general gets a bad rap as being misogynistic that a look at the films doesn't support. Now if you go back a geneeration to the Italian giallo films of the 70's then you do see a preponderance of female victims and male killers.

Vincent said...

Daniel, I do of course that there's a subtext, becuase it's virtually impossible to do anything without giving it some kind of subtext, and that's even truer with horror, and I do believe that whatever the society is going through at a certain moment in history influences its culture, I just don't think that the subtext, any subtext, can be so easily identified and labeled.
Even because sometimes it can be highly subjective, and intentionally not open to clear cut interpretations.

Daniel said...

RE:Anonymous

"Wolf Creek" definitely had worse kills for the women.

"Turistas" had an on screen discretion of a girl who was still alive.

"Hostel" had the torch bit.

"Cabin Fever" had a girl who was basically punished for being sexy by having all of her skin fall off.

the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" had the girl running through the forest in terror after being psychologically tortured for what felt like ages.

"The Devils Rejects" had a 10 minute rape scene with a gun.

"The Hills have Eyes" remake had an incredibly brutal rape/murder scene.

"LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT" which I don't think I even have to explain.

Boys usually die off screen or quickly. The girls are tortured, in view of the camera. Look, I dig horror films. I've spent years writing for "www.bloody-disgusting.com" I own probably 4 dozen horror films on dvd. But, there are issues with women present in a vast majority of the films. and only partly because they are made almost exclusively by men (sans "slumber party massacre")

Jill said...

I do find all of the political under-theories interesting. To me, that is one of the best arguments about all of this-- how dare we portest torture in films when torture is real in so many parts of the world. Why not spend out energy protesting the real thing instead of the depictions?

But back to the question in question: a weird thing is that none of the images on the billboard happen in the film. The film is about young lovers who manage to fall in love through the separate cells they are being held captive in by a madman.

The question, then, is this:

If Courtney Solomon looked at his film and thought it upromotable based on its actual content, then imagineered a very frightening torture-snuff-story billboard ad campaign, was told not to put it up because it violated community standards, and then put it up anyway....

what should be his punishment?

Taking the rating off the film would cause the greatest consequence, and I vote for the greatest consequence. This tactic of Solomon's was no small thing, and neither should be the consequence.

I admit I come to this story with a lot more feminist agenda and yeah, even rage, than many of the people posting here. My child and I had to look at the billboards many many times while sitting in traffic (and no, there was no way to say "the lady was sipping from a straw" as the gentleman who spelled Iraq Irak pointed out). But it's not just about parenting and how to explain things to our kids.

This billboard was truly about misogyny. The mascara running, the silicone breast, the capture elements... this billboard depicted a real, intense hatred for women and specifically for the super-sexualized 00's woman.

I thought about how, in Nazi Germany, before the Holocaust, anti-Jew propganda was everywhere, it was growing, people could feel something nasty coming, yet no one could imagine just how horrendous it would turn... but the signs were all there.

I feel the same way about what seems to be a real, new strain of woman-hatred-- a reaction against the post-feminist, let's call it "stripper power" or "I'm a ho and I'm proud" woman of today.

Last week, while checking in sporadically on this blog, I was at my grandmother's bedside as her life-- after 98 years-- came to a close.

In the community room outside of her bedroom at the retirement community, a group of barely conscious, very elderly people sat in wheelchairs facing a TV where an afternoon rerun of Law and Order was on. From the threshold of my grandmother's room, I watched as these comatose seniors watched the TV examiners examining a dead prostitute, as the word "semen", "sperm", "lacerations on her vagina" and "rape" were uttered with the same calmness as a car commercial.

As a writer, I am constantly arguing-- with TV networks and movie studios-- about the right to create female characters who are proudly sexual, women who make mistakes, aren't necessarily "good", and yet, don't get punished for it.

Of course, part of their argument is that censors and standards people don't want TV to be graphic-- yet if we use the word "vagina" along with "lacerations", "rape", and "samples from under her fingernails" it is a completely acceptable TV subject.

This is a long way of saying that the horror genre as well as freedom of speech are not really my issues. It's more that, when those billboards were up and everywhere I felt a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach-- that things are getting bad for women--

that as we find ourselves doing everything, being everything, adding plastic to the parts of our bodies that aren't "hot" enough, shaving, waxing, then taking pole dancing lessons on the way home from our jobs where we make as much if not more than our husbands or boyfriends...

there is a cost.

The virgin and the whore are becoming one... what was once the innocence of youth is now twisted up with the silicone and mascara of prositution-- and the response from some of the men of the world-- maybe not all men, maybe not most men-- but some Courtney Solomon-esque men, is the urge to capture, contain, torture and terminate.

The fact that so many women saw this as terrifying and way out of line... and so many others-- many of the voices on here and on the Huffington blog... said it was "nothing"-- scares the living shit out of me.

I want there to be an organization that speaks for women the same way the NAACP would have defended African Americans if this billboard were about torturing them. I want there to be a way to lay a serious consequence-- with loud, effective outrage-- on this sort of depiction on our streets. I want to be able to publicly be able to draw a boundary, and have it mean something.

Very simply: it seems like men think that women today are up for anything-- and so, it's anything they'll get. I believe it's our job to stand up and say, wait just one fucking minute. You know what? THAT? Was wrong. No. And we mean it.

Anonymous said...

Folks, they are only movies!

"Censors tend to do what only psychotics do: they confuse reality with illusion"
- David Cronenberg

Dougie14th said...

To Sean Richardson

"but that will be offset by publicity; in the long run, that won't actually affect them.


Yes it will. If Captivity is released in the summer, it will be destroyed by the big summer movies. There's more competition.


They signed a contract. The contract explained that the penalty for using advertising not explicitly approved by the MPAA -- let alone out-and-out denied -- would be losing, or denying, a rating.

The contract should be changed. It's not fair to punish the whole crew. It should be changed so charges could be placed against those responsible and they would be issued fines.

People who are crying censorship are stupid; if you get in bed with the MPAA, which you do when you sign the contracts with them or even just agree to produce a movie for a signatory company, you have to follow their rules. If you don't, you're economically censoring yourself.

Filmmakers are forced to go to the MPAA if they want any type of release for their movie. Their choices were sign the contracts and get a good release, or don't sign them and have their movie thrown into obscurity. I'm not saying that makes disobeying the rules OK, but it does make it a bit more reasonable.

Remember, I disagree with the ad campaign too. But I just think it's gone way too far.

I'll respond to the other posts later on.

Dougie14th said...

To Elizabeth Dehenny

"if I believe it has crossed the line by giving my children sobbing nightmares I have a right to complain.."


I'm with you on this. The ad campaign was unnecessary.

"Those consequences of denying a rating were created by the MPAA, not us. that was the MPAA threat for not following the rules, not ours, we merely suggest they follow through on this threat otherwise their approval is meaningless and anybody can put anything up they like.

I realize the MPAA created them. However, people shouldn't be encouraging this rule. I think people should lobby for a different consequence, one that specifically targets Courtney Soloman. Personally, I wouldn't care that much about it, but if you want to, target the people responsible. When Troma films released "Bloodsucking Freaks" unrated under the R rating, the MPAA sued Troma. However, the movie wasn't harmed in any way. That's a much more proper way of handling this issue.

one of whom may hit his friend over the head with a baseball bat because he didn't know it could kill, or bring a gun to school, or plot a bombing threat, and everyone wrings their hands whining "where were the parents? "Why can't they do their job?"

I don't think this makes any sense. If I'm right, you're implying that violence in media causes violence in real life. However, this is an opinion. There's nothing to back it up. I personally don't agree. I've been watching violent movies since I was 11 and I'm the least violent guy. I don't even kill flies or moths!

"I am not going to be more concerned about their rights to express themselves than I am about what their expression is saying to my children.

To each his own. I'd much rather respect everyones right to express themselves, because one day my kids will have that right too.

All well and good, but keep the ads G-rated!

I agree, but a lot of peoples complaints on this site have to do with the films themselves, not the ads, being graphic.


I think this mysgonist stuff is really over exagerated. If you look at horror films, there are equally as many strong female charcaters are there are victims. It's females who take on the beasts in "The Descent". It's a female who is the main opposition to the villain in Friday the 13th. Same with Nightmare on Elm Street. And Black Christmas. And Halloween. The list goes on and on. These are all strong female role models, who out last the men and are physically and emotionally strong.

These days, I think feminists complain about anything. I will admit there is a lot of sexism in the world, but a lot of feminists create sexism where there isn't any. Captivity is one case where the ads show a woman suffering. Hostel was all guys, save for one lady. Saw was almost all guys, in fact the lady was the one who survived. There's nothing sexist about these movies!

It's funny you bring up race, since I find that a lot of people just create that out of nowhere too. If I say I don't like Dave Chapelle or Samuel Jackson, the immediate response is "Because he's black?". No, maybe I just don't like them. When a black actor doesn't win an award, the excuse is "He's black and there was a bias". Maybe they didn't deserve it?!?!

This political correct bullshit creates more sexism and racism than it helps solve. There's nothing sexist about women being victims in movies, because first of all, there are plenty of men victims in movies too, and second of all, a lot of women are victims in real life. Art is a reflection of society. So if women get raped in real life, it will show up in movies because it actually happens! There's nothing wrong with that! Feminists just look for problems everywhere.

Rob said...

To Jill-


So then you support beheading jaywalkers I assume? I mean if you're going to jump to the maximum possible punishment once, why not for every offense?

As a second point- by now you must be aware that you wouldve had more impact had you simply ignored the movie. It would have been released, failed miserably, and dissapeared.

Thanks to the tremendous publicity your wrongheaded campaign is giving the movie, it stands to make a great deal more money once it gets released. I myself have organized enough people willing to pay full price to sell out every showing for two or three days.

Lastly, even though you don't see this as a freedom of speech issue, other more repressive organizaations will use the dangerous precedent that you are trying to set to impose an ever narrowing view of what they deem acceptible. That alone is reason enough for me to do my best to make sure your campaign fails.

While I dont disagree that if (and thats still a big if- I have yet to see the contract you all claim was violated; not to mention the dictatorial power the MPAA has set up for themselves as another poster pointed out) they violated the MPAA rules they should be punished- a fine is more than acceptible.

What you are calling for is too much, and sets too dangerous a precedent to be allowed to succeed. From where I sit, your cure would be worse than the disease

Anonymous said...

I thought the whole purpose of the rating system was to provide parents with information to help them make better decisions about what films their children view? Since when has it become a weapon to use against independent movie companies to keep them in line. And someone please explain to me how withholding a rating for this movie helps parents decide its suitability?

Sue Spuehler said...

There are so many separate issues being debated here.

While I wholeheartedly agree with Jill about the special perniciousness of misogyny these days, and that we should all stay aware of it, I think that's only a corollary to our objective here (which so many of the posters STILL don't get). This is about the inappropriateness of the location of the Captivity ads, and the importance of the MPAA's enforcement of their own rules in this case.

If an architect -- who is every bit an artist -- wanted to erect his gorgeous five story building on a really perfect lot in a residential neighborhood, he couldn't, because that lot is only zoned for a three story building. Should he pitch a fit over the threat to his freedom of expression? Maybe...

Is the fact that no one can advertise cigarettes on TV a violation of the First Amendment rights of the artistic director of Philip Morris' ad team? I don't know, maybe.

Would anyone come running to the defense of someone who was tossed in a squad car after he screamed threatening racial epithets in the middle of the First AME church? And then yelled "Fire!"? I'm sure a few people would.

The point is, there are all sorts of controls on public speech, folks. Most of them have to do with context. You can say whatever you want, but not everywhere, at all times. That is what we are dealing with in the case of the Captivity ads, period.

You can see that four-panel atrocity online on a hundred websites. You will see it in journals and magazines. It may even be reproduced in books someday, after all this flap about censorship. You will be able to see the movie in a theater, in all likelihood. You will certainly be able to rent or buy the DVD.

But the MPAA says -- and I agree -- that you can't see an ad that intense in a public space where any and all eyes can see it. Think of it as a zoning restriction.

If this still fills you with righteous indignation, and you have terrifying visions of an Orwellian world where we have to send messages by pigeon and see horror movies in underground speakeasies, knock yourself out. Get all your friends to go see captivity so that we repressive, reactionary, Bible-thumping parents (what a laugh THAT is) can't repeal the First Amendment. But you are naive if you think we live in a society with absolute freedom of expression.

The line between maintaining a civil society and imposing censorship is very thin, I grant you that. Everyone is correct to be initially suspicious of movements like this. I have had to ask myself all sorts of hard questions about my stance on this.

But if you truly look at and think about the circumstances here, the issue is really quite simple, banal, and nothing we don't live with very comfortably already: speech in public places that causes people distress or harm, in the end, simply isn't going to fly. This may not be utopian to you, but it is the reality of sharing space with other people in a heterogeneous society.

You may hate the MPAA. But if it renders itself impotent, then eventually the government WILL step in and we WILL have real censorship of content -- and no one on this board wants that.

Rob said...

Sue-

If the inapropriateness of the location WERE actually all you were dealing with, then you would be happy once the billboards were taken down and a fine paid.

The fact that so many here want instead to crush the movie entirely by denying it ANY rating (even after the billboards were removed) makes it a clearly a freedom of speech issue(perhaps not for you, but certainly for them) -they dont want the film to be able to be seen because they dont like what it says.

That in and of itself is unacceptable enough for me to (and believe me I have) "get all my friends to go and see Captivity";And once again, may I point out that I had NO intention of seeing this shlock before you started this campaign. But what makes it a moral necessity for this campaign to fail (and what you ignore completely) is the dangerous precedent you set. Whether you intended it as such or not, other groups will emulate you for far less noble reasons- to deny films that have content they consider unacceptible a rating. And soon, only the safest blandest pap imaginable will be released.

Lastly the idea that the MPAA renders itself "impotent" if it doesn't remove the rating is simplistic and laughable. No one is saying the studio should not be punished. However, there are other punishments that are more appropriate and do not set dangerous precedents.

Removing the rating is going too far.

Anonymous said...

Many users here keep on insitisting on fredom of speech, even if it's not really the specific isssue here, because so many of the posters on this blog, or on the Huffington site for that matter, makes it feel like an attack to a certain genre or a certain type of movies.
Bill O'Reilly did the same thing last October, an attack to Horror films in general, and gore in particular, with the help of a couple of his cronies; one of them being far right-wing critic James Hirsen.
Saw 3 director, Darren Lynn Bousman, responded to them on a blog, and I backed him completely on his reply.
To many of us, it's pretty hard to find any substantial difference between O'Reilly's stance and your own. Maybe it's my inability to completely get the subtlety of certain arguments, and if that's the case I apologize, but, for example, Joss Whedon's letter doesn't seem to me far away from what O'Reilly said.
And that is something I personally have trouble with.
Jill Soloway in her first article on the matter, published on the Huffington site, goes so far as to indicate other future targets (Hostel Part 2), and even to basically wish Elisha Cuthbert's career a quick end, which is something I found quite frankly appalling.
I understand Soloway might feel morally superior to actresses who, gasp!, sign on to be in a horror/slasher film, still, saying "may her career rest in peace", feels a bit of an overkill to me, but what do I know, right?...
It seems to me that many of you consider the people who work in the genre more or less a step above gun dealers, and people who actually enjoys horror/slasher films as all potential maniacs, or at best, misogynist thugs. Well, thank you very much, I don't feel I'm either.
I'm a liberal, I oppose the war in Iraq and death penalty, and I'm completely and totally pro-choice.
I also feel that the issue of misogyny in the genre, is brought up by people who have no familiarity with it.
It's true, instead, that the vast majority features lead female characters, who are strong, and find in themselves what it takes to face the threats and the obstacles they're up against.
Violence scenes has to be put in the context of the whole movie, otherwise I could say that Schindler's List promotes anti-semitism, because it depicts scenes of violence toward Jews.
It's true that this has nothing to do with the fact that After Dark put up something they weren't supposed to, and that they should pay for that.
But it's also true, that maybe it's you guys who should remember that first, if you really want to keep this from becoming a campaign of repression, not so different from the "Heavy metal is Evil" nonsense of the Christian right.

Anonymous said...

First of all, someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but there do not seem to be any first amendment rights here. The first amendment is only relevant when the government, in some capacity, is a counterparty to the issue at hand, which is in no way the case here.

In response to Sue, you say “this is about the inappropriateness of the location of the Captivity ads, and the importance of the MPAA's enforcement of their own rules in this case.” I believe you on the former, but not so much on the latter. This “concern about the MPAA enforcing its rules” MO seems something of a red herring, no more than a framework for this constituency to achieve its desired goals. To that end, it reminds of me of Mayor Bloomberg’s imposition of the smoking ban in the name of employee safety: he had a personal distaste for smoking in public places, he thought, very validly, that banning it was unquestionably the right thing to do, but he knew he couldn’t just impose his personal prejudices on a “because I said so” basis, so he cleverly positioned the smoking ban and its corresponding legislation as a “worker safety” issue. I may be mistaken, but it would seem that newfound concern about MPAA rule enforcement is merely this issue’s version of the worker safety issue.

One thing I still find interesting and I’m genuinely curious to hear about from people most closely associated with this movement: If the propriety of the ads and not the content/message of the films is the problem, why was the knee-jerk reaction to appeal to the MPAA? As far as I can tell, there were three obvious targets for recourse: 1) the creators of the content (from what’s been said, obviously a dead end); 2) the regulator (obvious pending possibilities, but with some well-documented potential artistic freedom repercussions); and 3) the ad distributor.

Put another way, if you were sitting with your child at home at 3 in the afternoon on the couch, watching NBC and a montage of Captivity torture images inexplicably came on, would not a good part of your ire and/or action be directed at the medium for those messages, in this case, NBC (as opposed to the content creators or the FCC)? I guess my point is, if your goal is, as repeatedly stated, to prevent future displays of material you deem to be offensive in the public arena, why have you not appealed to the owners of the offending billboard(s) to make them accountable? That would address the issue without muddying the waters with accusations of censorship, foolish invocations of contractual law, debates about characterization of females in horror films, etc.

I suppose it’s something of a rhetorical question, because my sense is that the answer, as Jill has revealed in her last several emails, is that there seems to be the pursuit of a broader feminist agenda here, and merely rapping the billboard companies across the knuckles wouldn’t aid as much in the movement.

One last point…

“I want there to be an organization that speaks for women the same way the NAACP would have defended African Americans if this billboard were about torturing them.”

Do recall that, among other things, the NAACP actively tried to censor “Birth of a Nation”, citing the irreparable harm it would do to its constituency.

It’s not just the Christian right that can be oppressive, so I’d again urge you to be mindful of your tactics as we enter the next wave of feminism (and it is definitely upon us…Have any of you seen the Wack! show at MOCA?)

Daniel said...

"These days, I think feminists complain about anything."

The above is a sexist remark. It shows that you have no idea what feminism actually IS.

Look, most of the roles you find "empowering" for women simply aren't. They reinforce stereotypes and cultural messages about women being weak because we are supposed to be surprised when she becomes strong.

Also, every one of the films you listed, save "The Descent" which was effectively terrifying, if muddled by it's alterations from the book on which it is based, also reinforces the subjugation of women's sexuality.

The female has been "otherized" as thus made easier to ignore. Women are seen as "confusing" or "temperamental" and many end up falling into this cycle, using the social stereotype as a crutch and an excuse for feelings that could easily be dealt with other ways. It ends up being a sort of social placebo reinforcing expected women’s roles which are almost exclusively secondary.

And the pay gap issues goes deeper too. Look at the average office building and consider pay scales. a secretary makes one wage, and a mechanic makes another. these jobs may seem unrelated, but they are both semi-skilled labor that can be performed without a college diploma in many cases. It is worth noting that the mechanic's average pay is significantly higher than that of the secretary (these are form a book using 1990 figures). This may seem fair on the surface, but look closer.

One is a job considered a woman's job, and one is considered a man's job based on social stigma. Situations like this are so common that a pattern emerges that can be used to make a compelling argument about the mistreatment of women in the work place.

Long story short; educate yourself a bit more before putting down feminism. Hell, educate yourself before even placing all feminists together. There are at least 3 completely separate branches of the movement.

And I say all of this as a male.

Daniel said...

"You may hate the MPAA. But if it renders itself impotent, then eventually the government WILL step in and we WILL have real censorship of content -- and no one on this board wants that."

Jill, this is untrue.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled on issues of cinema censorship, most notably in the case of the attempted banning of "Natural Born Killers" (A film now available, in its unrated cut for $5.50 at your local Wal-Mart) and it has ALWAYS ruled on the side of Hollywood. Beyond the filmmakers always being right in these suits, the issue comes down to one of economics. The Supreme Court regularly rules on matters in a pragmatic way designed to protect business and the economy. Censorship is unavoidably bad for art and the economy of art. So, this terror over film censorship is ridiculous. If Larry Flint was protected, Larry Charles will be too.

Daniel said...

correction, I meant RE: Sue Spuehler, not Jill.

Daniel said...

Also, I think I meant Larry Clark (who directed Kids) not Larry Charles (who directed Borat)

Dougie14th said...

To Daniel

The above is a sexist remark. It shows that you have no idea what feminism actually IS.


How the hell is that sexist? This has come down to another case of calling someone prejudice when they're not. A lot of feminists do just call anything sexist. I will admit that not all do and I may have accidently generalized, but a lot of groups of people create prejudice against themselves. At school during Thursday, I just got called a racist for saying I don't find "David Chapelle" funny. That's what it has come down to. One of my teachers deducted marks off an essay because I used the words "mankind" and "manhole" and she said I was being sexist. I'm sorry, but this is getting out of hand.

Look, most of the roles you find "empowering" for women simply aren't. They reinforce stereotypes and cultural messages about women being weak because we are supposed to be surprised when she becomes strong.

I'm sorry, but in real life, many women are weak. It's the truth. Men are the physically stronger, generally. Now, of course this isn't true in all cases. There are plenty of women that could beat me up, and I've seen some very tough women. However, men are generally stronger than women.

Why create some sort of false equality in our media. I actually get pissed when I see something like "Pirates of the Caribean 2", where Keira Knightley beats up huge men. It's not believable. All the movies I mentioned were believable. None of the women were portrayed as "Super Heros" or were unbelievable. They were all believable and all used their physical, intellectual and emotional strengths to overcome the villains.

And I was talking about strong as, not just physical, but also emotional and intellectual.

Also, every one of the films you listed, save "The Descent" which was effectively terrifying, if muddled by it's alterations from the book on which it is based, also reinforces the subjugation of women's sexuality.

How? Provide examples.

And the pay gap issues goes deeper too. Look at the average office building and consider pay scales. a secretary makes one wage, and a mechanic makes another. these jobs may seem unrelated, but they are both semi-skilled labor that can be performed without a college diploma in many cases. It is worth noting that the mechanic's average pay is significantly higher than that of the secretary (these are form a book using 1990 figures). This may seem fair on the surface, but look closer.

I agree the pay issue is sexist. Women make less. However, your example is bad. The trades are in high demand, so a trades person is going to make more than a secretary, regardless of sex. As well, I think that's a harder job than a secretary. So I agree with your view, but your example was bad.

Long story short; educate yourself a bit more before putting down feminism. Hell, educate yourself before even placing all feminists together. There are at least 3 completely separate branches of the movement.

I'm not putting down feminism. I'm saying a lot of feminists create prejudice out of nowhere. It's not just them either, it's almost any minority group. They are being oppressed against, but they create even more problems. These days you get called sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. for anything. It's creating more problems and isn't helping solve anything.

Daniel said...

Dougie14th

Referring to any one group as a monolithic force shows a general disregard for the individuality of any one person in that group and a bias against the group.

It's like how black directors are supposed to make "black" movies. As a member of a minority group society doesn't let you write about the human experience, only the minority experience. A female author is expected to write about women's struggles not humanities struggles. A Jewish author, the Jewish experience.

It's all very nice and allows for easy compartmentalization of anyone different than yourself.

To describe something as "the Jews" "the blacks" "the feminists" is offensive.

"A lot of feminists do just call anything sexist."

This remark is completely baseless. You have not cited one fact yet. You've continued to make generalities designed to denigrate feminists but you haven't yet put forth any logical argument.

And even if this statement were true, it doesn't make any difference. Many black men are liars; therefore we should ignore the statements of all black men? Surely not. But that’s an identical argument to the one you've tried to make.

"But a lot of groups of people create prejudice against themselves."

Okay, so...now you're blaming the victim for the crime? Really? So, when I was almost beaten to death for being Jewish, twice...that was my fault?

You've obviously never been in that situation where you can't go to that party with your friends because someone there might literally kill you because of your heritage. You've never had someone scream "Kike!" out of their car as they drove by and threw a bottle at you. You've never gone into a bathroom only to see a giant swastika painted inside and felt like you were going to throw up.

You don't know what you're talking about. And consider yourself lucky that you don't.

"One of my teachers deducted marks off an essay because I used the words "mankind" and "manhole" and she said I was being sexist. I'm sorry, but this is getting out of hand."

True, but irrelevant. 'Oh poor me! I'm part of the discriminated majority!' arguments carry no weight.

"I'm sorry, but in real life, many women are weak."

I meant the emotional strength of going from a blubbering mess to a person in control. But even this control is "safe" control for a woman because her sexuality, the basest thing about her, is still controlled by patriarchal expectations.

The virgin survives, the woman who controls her sexuality who "owns it" if you will, is punished. Sexual "morality" is reinforced and woman are put in their place as subservient to men for sex. A male who has had sex is allowed to survive whereas a woman will be punished for it.

"Player" vs. "Slut"

Come now, you must recognize that these films tell you that female sexuality is something to be avoided or resented. You can even tell as soon as the sex scene (designed to be gratuitously arousing for men and objectify the woman) that "she's going to get it."

Also, the phallic weaponry, the blood as semen...come on.

"I'm not putting down feminism. I'm saying a lot of feminists create prejudice out of nowhere."

That is simply untrue. I'm getting the impression, based upon what you have written, that you've never been a member of a honest to goodness minority. You've never been seriously discriminated against based on the color of your skin, your sexual organs, your sexual preference, your system of belief, the way you look, ect. Without this experience, it's going to be extremely hard for you to understand feminists complaints.

And another issue, I don't like the name "feminism." It's unfair. It creates this idea that it's binary and that the goal is female domination rather than equality. For both genders where men are afforded the same benefits that women enjoy and women are not placed second to men. It should be called "the equality movement" or "the humanism movement"

The name feminism is off putting to people and confusing as is evidenced by the odd way people look at me when I say that I'm a feminist.

"These days you get called sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. for anything. It's creating more problems and isn't helping solve anything."

Thing is--you probably ARE being racist, sexist, homophobic ect. and don't even realize it because you've been indoctrinated into a culture that is racist, sexist, homophobic ect.

Daniel said...

Addendum:

Look, I don't mean any of that to be mean to you. I don't mean that to seem abrasive or mean spirited. I don't think you're a bad person or an true bigot.

But, you do lack perspective on this. And I suppose m matter how much I tell you about how society does have a giant bias against women and minorities, you won't understand it because you have no point of reference beyond being told of for (rightly) thinking that Dave Chappelle isn't funny.

Daniel said...

POST 100 YAY!


Now, back to discussion.

Dougie14th said...

Referring to any one group as a monolithic force shows a general disregard for the individuality of any one person in that group and a bias against the group.

I understand this. I said I did that by accident. I believe a lot of feminists do create prejudices, but I'm saying not all and a lot don't. My initial statement, as I've already said, was an accidental generalization.

Basically, it’s the same as me saying a lot of teenagers resent authority. Not all do, maybe not even a majority, but there’s a large portion that do. And I’m a teenager, so I can see this amongst many of my peers.

It's like how black directors are supposed to make "black" movies. As a member of a minority group society doesn't let you write about the human experience, only the minority experience. A female author is expected to write about women's struggles not humanities struggles. A Jewish author, the Jewish experience.

I agree. This pisses me off too. I get angry when I see every single movie by a black director being about racism or living in the ghetto. That's why I was happy that a black person made "Shooter", which I thought was an amazing movie and had nothing to do with that. I was so sick of seeing these “minority” films that I was relieved a black man made “Shooter”. Same with “Pet Semetary”, which is an amazing horror film directed by a woman, which has nothing to do with woman’s hardships.

To describe something as "the Jews" "the blacks" "the feminists" is offensive.

How? I don’t see a problem with generalizations, as long as they are seen as what they are; general views of a group. The Jews were targeted in WWII by Hitler. Ok, maybe a few weren’t for some reason, but who cares. The feminists are trying to create equal rights for woman. Fine, maybe not every single one, but I don’t think anybody is taking these statements that literally.

This remark is completely baseless. You have not cited one fact yet. You've continued to make generalities designed to denigrate feminists but you haven't yet put forth any logical argument.

How about everything Jill and you said about horror movies being sexist? That’s just one of them, and the funny thing about it is that it is a generalization too!

I also mentioned my feminist teacher, among others. I’m not saying all feminists are like this, but some are. A lot of minorities have individuals within them that seem to think anything done against them is prejudice. All you have to do is look in the news for example. A recent thing that happened here in Canada was that some Muslim people complained that they felt as if their rights and beliefs were not being respected because at the swimming pool, men could watch women participating in swimming lessons from the bleachers. So now no one can watch swimming lessons. Muslim people were not the victim of prejudice in this instant. They complained that they were, but they weren’t, even though they are victims in many other cases.

And even if this statement were true, it doesn't make any difference. Many black men are liars; therefore we should ignore the statements of all black men? Surely not. But that’s an identical argument to the one you've tried to make.

I never said not to listen to feminists. Everyone should be listened too. I said that I believe a lot of feminists create prejudices and that I think Jill was just making up cases of sexism.

Okay, so...now you're blaming the victim for the crime?

No, I’m not blaming them for the crime. Obviously, the one who did the crime was the one at fault. However, I’m saying in some cases, someone says they’re being targeted because of their race or sex, when in fact they’re not, and this just creates more problems and doesn’t help solve them.

Really? So, when I was almost beaten to death for being Jewish, twice...that was my fault?

No, not at all. You weren’t too blame for that in the least. The bigots who perpetrated the crime were.

You've obviously never been in that situation where you can't go to that party with your friends because someone there might literally kill you because of your heritage. You've never had someone scream "Kike!" out of their car as they drove by and threw a bottle at you. You've never gone into a bathroom only to see a giant swastika painted inside and felt like you were going to throw up.

No, I haven’t. That’s besides the point though. All of those are horrible incidents. I’m not saying their isn’t prejudice in the world. There’s a lot of it! These are examples and the swastika one happened back at my high school. It offended a lot of people and wasn’t necessary. However, I’m talking about people laying blame on others and calling them prejudice, when in fact they are not. All of your examples are all clearly prejudice. What I’m talking about is women calling someone sexist for saying that women are generally the physically weaker sex (which has happened to me) or saying that studies have shown that men usually do better at math and women at languages (which also happened to me). These instances aren’t sexist, but are deemed sexist. I think it’s the same with what Jill was saying. She talks as if there is a Holocaust against women, when in fact, I don’t think there is. I think this is another instance of finding things that aren’t sexist, sexist. I’m not saying there isn’t sexism, there is and all you have to do is look at the number of women politicians, but I think some people find anything prejudice against them.

You don't know what you're talking about. And consider yourself lucky that you don't.

I know what I’m talking about. I might not know it from your perspective, but we are two different people coming from two different perspectives, so each of us knows what we’re talking about, we just have completely different views on the situation. However, I am glad I’m not bigoted against.

True, but irrelevant. 'Oh poor me! I'm part of the discriminated majority!' arguments carry no weight.

How’s this irrelevant? This argument is about people complaining over anything and calling anything prejudice. If it’s true, than it’s a perfect example of what I’m arguing about. And I’m not complaining or think I’m discriminated in any way. After the incident, I showed my friends and we had a laugh at how ridiculous it was. But it’s still a perfect example of what I’m trying to illustrate. The teacher thought I was being sexist for using words which included “man” in them.

I meant the emotional strength of going from a blubbering mess to a person in control.

In most of those movies, the women are never a blubbering mess. Laurie Strode in “Halloween” is emotionally strong throughout the whole movie.

The virgin survives, the woman who controls her sexuality who "owns it" if you will, is punished.

You obviously don’t watch much horror. Yes, this is common in many horror films, but it’s mainly common in slasher films. These movies also often kill off the men and usually a woman is the only surviving character. They also kill off drug users and people doing “bad” things. Frankly, I don’t see the sexism. Sleeping around isn’t a good thing anyway. You can contract STD’s and become pregnant. In these movies, the people doing things the filmmaker believes are wrong, are killed off. Women AND men!

Sexual "morality" is reinforced and woman are put in their place as subservient to men for sex. A male who has had sex is allowed to survive whereas a woman will be punished for it.

No, all the men died in “Friday the 13th”, “Halloween” and hordes of other movies.

Come now, you must recognize that these films tell you that female sexuality is something to be avoided or resented. You can even tell as soon as the sex scene (designed to be gratuitously arousing for men and objectify the woman) that "she's going to get it."

I don’t get your point. The guy usually gets it too. It’s more against sex than “a sex”, if you get what I mean. And I don’t see what’s wrong with gratuitous nudity or anything, man or woman. Men and women get aroused by things and I don’t see what’s wrong with that. Of course, objectifying a whole sex is wrong, but I don’t see what’s wrong with providing pleasure for either sex.

Also, the phallic weaponry, the blood as semen...come on.

See, this is another example of looking for sexism where there isn’t any. I don’t know how you get blood from semen?!?! Blood is real! When someone is stabbed, blood comes out. How does this represent semen in any way!?!?! And phallic weaponry. I’m sorry, but knives and swords are common weapons. They don’t represent male body parts. They’re designed to inflict pain, not to look like a guys “part”. Both these things are real and don’t represent sex in any way, unless the filmmaker shoots it to. Like, I could understand if there’s some blood dribbling out the side of the girls mouth, but otherwise, I just don’t get it.

That is simply untrue. I'm getting the impression, based upon what you have written, that you've never been a member of a honest to goodness minority. You've never been seriously discriminated against based on the color of your skin, your sexual organs, your sexual preference, your system of belief,

You’re right, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have an opinion on an issue.

the way you look, ect.

Actually, here I’ve got a bit of a mild case. I have long hair, so I’ve grown up since a small kid having guys tell me I look like a girl, to get a haircut, that I’m gay, long haired freak, etc. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. However, I can always cut my hair. It’s not like race, where you can’t change (and shouldn’t want to either, might I add). However, I like my hair and don’t care what a lot of these close minded people think, so I keep growing it. So that’s a mild case. But I never look for prejudice where there isn’t any. If someone doesn’t like me, I don’t go “Oh, they don’t like me because I have long hair and they’re prejudice” or “They don’t want me to work in a restaurant because I have long hair and they’re prejudice”, when really they might not want me because they don’t want me getting hair in the food. I know it’s a bad example, but you should get the general idea.

Without this experience, it's going to be extremely hard for you to understand feminists complaints.

I understand feminists complaints about a lot of issues. I just don’t get why they (and a lot of other groups) have to find sexism in places where there isn’t any.

And another issue, I don't like the name "feminism." It's unfair. It creates this idea that it's binary and that the goal is female domination rather than equality. For both genders where men are afforded the same benefits that women enjoy and women are not placed second to men. It should be called "the equality movement" or "the humanism movement"

I agree with this, although some feminists probably would want female domination. I realize basically none, but I did know a woman once who was a little odd and wanted female domination.

Thing is--you probably ARE being racist, sexist, homophobic ect. and don't even realize it because you've been indoctrinated into a culture that is racist, sexist, homophobic ect.

No, I’m not prejudice. It’s just come down to everything being called racist, homophobic, sexist, etc. You can’t say anything without being labeled one of these. I’m not a very prejudice person. I respect all sexes and believe they should all be allowed the same rights. Same goes for races. I don’t use derogatory language such as “nigger”, “fag”, or “gay” (when used to describe something). I support homosexuality, and while I wouldn’t want to be gay, it doesn’t matter to me whether or not other people are. I support gay marriage too and think it’s absurd to deny it.

But these days, everything is labeled sexist or racist or homophobic. Every movie that comes out is called racist or sexist and people draw parrarells that don’t exist. The Academy Awards is called racist, even though a record number of black actors were nominated this year and one of them won for “Best Actor”. If one of them doesn’t win (such as Eddie Murphy), it’s because the Academy’s racist, not because maybe he didn’t deserve it.

People just use it as an excuse for their shortcomings and feel as if they’re being victimized from everyone. Most of the time, it’s not true. A show premiered in Canada called “Little Mosque on the Prairie”. It was about Muslims. One critic denounced it, saying that it didn’t address Muslim issues fairly, that it portrayed everyone else as bigots and that he wouldn’t have cared if it was funny, but it wasn’t. Muslims got angry and sent in hordes of letters saying he just couldn’t accept the fact that Muslims were having a show of their own and he was a racist.

I’m not rejecting feminism. I’m criticizing the attitude that I believe many feminists have and that I saw in Jill Soloway’s post, where she draws wild conclusions about sexism in today’s society. Why not focus on sexism that is actually happening, such as the pay difference, than something that may or may not be happening. It’s become ridiculous. Accusations and excuses aren’t helping solve these prejudices, and whle I realize a lot of feminists don’t do that, I find that many minorities do and I could see it in Jill’s post.

Dougie14th said...

And I suppose m matter how much I tell you about how society does have a giant bias against women and minorities,

I don't think you understand me. I do know their is a bias against women and minorities. I've never denied that. I do however think that a lot of people make up issues where there are none. That doesn't mean their are no biases or prejudices, but some people find anything biased or prejudiced.

you won't understand it because you have no point of reference beyond being told of for (rightly) thinking that Dave Chappelle isn't funny.

I don't get the rightly thing. Are you saying I was right to not find Dave Chapelle funny, or they were right to call me racist. Either way, I think that I'd have trouble understanding it even if I was a minority who was discriminated against. There's really no reason to blame everything on prejudice and there's nothing to understand about it. It's ignorant.

Daniel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daniel said...

Note, I wrote this in word and had to fix the spacing when I put it back up, thus the deleted comment.

“How? I don’t see a problem with generalizations, as long as they are seen as what they are; general views of a group. The Jews were targeted in WWII by Hitler. Ok, maybe a few weren’t for some reason, but who cares. The feminists are trying to create equal rights for woman. Fine, maybe not every single one, but I don’t think anybody is taking these statements that literally.”

It is dehumanizing to call a group “the Jews” or “the blacks” it denies individuality. It is fair to say, “Jewish people overwhelmingly vote for the democratic party.” (I have no idea if that is true or not, I’m just using an example). But to say, “The Jews vote democratic” has a very different connotation. One that is more than slightly demeaning. It implies an almost subhuman quality about a group.

”How about everything Jill and you said about horror movies being sexist? That’s just one of them, and the funny thing about it is that it is a generalization too!”

Except for the fact that I cited specific examples and you used a hypothetical.

”I also mentioned my feminist teacher, among others. I’m not saying all feminists are like this, but some are. A lot of minorities have individuals within them that seem to think anything done against them is prejudice. All you have to do is look in the news for example. A recent thing that happened here in Canada was that some Muslim people complained that they felt as if their rights and beliefs were not being respected because at the swimming pool, men could watch women participating in swimming lessons from the bleachers. So now no one can watch swimming lessons. Muslim people were not the victim of prejudice in this instant. They complained that they were, but they weren’t, even though they are victims in many other cases.”

This is a case of an organization looking to avoid litigation. Now, I don’t know this story, but I am presuming that it was a Muslim woman who was in the class? I mean, the way you tell it makes absolutely no sense. There has never been a case where someone said, “hey, I am unrelated to this situation, but I would be offended if I were to be involved, so change it now!” that doesn’t happen.

Also, note that I am using middle of the road examples, with specifics in mind. I’m not quoting the “Guinea Pig” series of films, nor any number of obscure straight to video fare. You are citing uncommon occurrences while I am discounting the extremes on both sides. It is good rhetoric practice to ignore the very top and very bottom of each issue because degenerate occurrences (meaning abnormal) are statistically irrelevant anyway.

”I never said not to listen to feminists. Everyone should be listened too. I said that I believe a lot of feminists create prejudices and that I think Jill was just making up cases of sexism.”

Which cases?

”No, I’m not blaming them for the crime. Obviously, the one who did the crime was the one at fault. However, I’m saying in some cases, someone says they’re being targeted because of their race or sex, when in fact they’re not, and this just creates more problems and doesn’t help solve them.”

Your statement is identical to blaming the victim for the crime. Saying feminists are looking for iniquity so the same as saying a girl going to a party in a short skirt is looking to get raped. Of course feminists are looking for iniquity! What are you gonna say next, police officers are looking for crime? Narcotics officers are looking for drugs?

”No, I haven’t. That’s besides the point though.”

That’s not beside the point, THAT IS THE POINT. You lack the basic point of reference to understand what minority groups are dealing with. Yes, some overreact, but when you look at the statistics showing that 1 in 6 women will be sexually assaulted, are the complaints really that outlandish?

“What I’m talking about is women calling someone sexist for saying that women are generally the physically weaker sex (which has happened to me)”

There is a difference between saying “On a biological level, the male anatomy is designed to carry more muscle mass” and saying “in general women are weaker than men” the subtext of the latter comment is one of inferiority versus superiority. And that is sexist, even as the intent is not.

“…or saying that studies have shown that men usually do better at math and women at languages (which also happened to me).”

That one you are right on.

“She talks as if there is a Holocaust against women, when in fact, I don’t think there is.”
ONE IN SIX WOMEN WILL BE SEXUALLY ASSUALTED DURING HER LIFETIME. (okay, these stats are for America, but I would presume they are similar to those found in Canada). This cultural acceptance of sexual abuse towards women is definitely similar to a holocaust being perpetrated upon them.

“all you have to do is look at the number of women politicians, but I think some people find anything prejudice against them.”

Okay, I realize you’re in Canada, but here in the US, there is a definite bias against female politicians. Day in and day out Rush Limbaugh bashes Nancy Pelosi for being a woman. There is endless hate spewed toward Hillary Clinton and every time someone like Britney Spears shaves her head people treat it as evidence that perhaps a woman shouldn’t be president. Come on, you can’t hear one discussion of a female politician without a mention of her “grace” or a dissection of her clothing choices. When was the last time anyone mentioned anything about a male politicians clothing choices (Rudolph Giuliani’s cross-dressing aside)?

“I know what I’m talking about.”

Without first hand knowledge, what I’m saying is very hard to grasp. I know I didn’t “get” all of this until after the second time I was attacked. I have met very few people who can understand the position of the downtrodden without being an outsider themselves.

“The teacher thought I was being sexist for using words which included “man” in them.”

Your teacher sounds a bit loony. But again—ignore the top and bottom.

”In most of those movies, the women are never a blubbering mess. Laurie Strode in “Halloween” is emotionally strong throughout the whole movie.”

I haven’t seen Halloween in years, so I can’t recall but I do remember the opening where it is established that Laurie is a virgin and all of her friends who die are not.

”You obviously don’t watch much horror.”

Dude, I’ve written for www.bloody-disgusting.com since I was 16. I’m friends with several name horror filmmakers. I wrote a 16 page research report on the history of zombie films for G-d’s sakes!

“Yes, this is common in many horror films, but it’s mainly common in slasher films.”

Yeah, I know. But I presumed that that was just understood in the context of the conversation.

“These movies also often kill off the men and usually a woman is the only surviving character.”

Yes, but in any film the audience is given a character to emulate, usually the hero. The female with a repressed sexuality is usually the hero, need I explain more?

“They also kill off drug users and people doing “bad” things.”

EXACTLY! These things are not bad though! To even classify sex in the same category as drug use is erroneous. Sex is natural, healthy and normal. Drug use is generally self destructive. The moral of these movies is that a female in control of her own sexuality is a “bad” thing. And that is sexist.

“Sleeping around isn’t a good thing anyway.”

But it’s a biological function. Is someone who likes to play basketball a lot and will play with whomever is hanging around the court a worse person that someone who only plays in a league? And are they also inferior if the person plays by different court rules than you? You’re working within artificial constraints. There is nothing wrong with sex. Films like Halloween work to vilify sexuality, especially female sexuality. Now, I don’t sleep around. Heck, I have trouble really enjoying the sex act without an emotional connection. But, just because I choose monogamy and love as my constraints does not mean that everyone should have to.

“You can contract STD’s and become pregnant.”

Well, yes. But you can also have a heart attack jogging or be hit by a car. See, there are these things called condoms, right? Also, there are these things called birth control pills, okay? So, when used together, en tandem with regular testing, you’re gonna be fine. Be selective about your partners. I wouldn’t advise picking up some girl in a bar and hoping she’s clean. But, if you know the person well and know that he or she has been tested, and use birth control as well as keeping Morning After Pill’s around, you’re golden.

“In these movies, the people doing things the filmmaker believes are wrong, are killed off. Women AND men!”

But woman’s sexuality specifically is vilified by the fact that the woman who survives is pure. In a narrative there is always a character to be emulated if everyone except the sexually repressed female is dead, and she is alive seemingly because of her purity, what conclusion is the audience to draw?

”No, all the men died in “Friday the 13th”, “Halloween” and hordes of other movies.”

Never seen most of the F13’s after part 4 but my explanation still stands.

”And I don’t see what’s wrong with gratuitous nudity or anything, man or woman.”

Now, I’m a big first amendment guy, so I’m fine with pornography, but you have to admit, it is demeaning towards the women and men involved and promotes objectification.

”See, this is another example of looking for sexism where there isn’t any. I don’t know how you get blood from semen?!?! Blood is real! When someone is stabbed, blood comes out. How does this represent semen in any way!?!?! And phallic weaponry. I’m sorry, but knives and swords are common weapons. They don’t represent male body parts. They’re designed to inflict pain, not to look like a guys “part”. Both these things are real and don’t represent sex in any way, unless the filmmaker shoots it to. Like, I could understand if there’s some blood dribbling out the side of the girls mouth, but otherwise, I just don’t get it.”

It’s a metaphor. You know, visual representation of something that it is not literally. It’s called art, perhaps you’ve heard of it?

”You’re right, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have an opinion on an issue.”

Of course not, but the problem is your opinion is inevitably lacking perspective. It is possible for you to have fully formed opinions that agree or disagree with mine even without experiences like mine, but it is much harder to understand my points without the catharsis that comes from having experienced similar trauma.

”I understand feminists complaints about a lot of issues. I just don’t get why they (and a lot of other groups) have to find sexism in places where there isn’t any.”

It is there generally, like with this ad campaign. You just might not see it at first.

”No, I’m not prejudice. It’s just come down to everything being called racist, homophobic, sexist, etc.”

Okay, I poorly stated that. What I should have said was “your actions are probably sexist racist ect.” Instead of “you are being” which is too accusatory in tone. The rest of your post makes some good points but it gets down to the fact that I think most of the major feminist speaking points are valid, and you don’t. to argue this further would just be masturbatory and cyclical.

Ps. I don’t find Chapelle funny either.

Anonymous said...

Why is this still going on?

The MPAA delayed the rating.

You achieved what you set out to do.

but that isn't good enough for some of you, you want to shut it down completely now?

The ad's were not right to be placed in public - that much is certain.

But going on and on about how it's causing the downfall of the world is off the mark.

Whedon states he makes "horror" type movies (shows).

Let's see, on his TV show, people are getting burned to death, stabbed, crushed, acts of homosexual love, and other "snuff" type activity.

Remember - this is on TV - not in a age-regulated movie house.

But the ad's - he's against them....

He want's to teach them a lesson...

Or is it that he is upset he didn't think of it first?


It's a movie. If you taught your precious children on what is right and wrong, you should not have to worry about it.

Stop trying to pass the responsibility on to other people and place it on your own shoulders.


Why am I anonymous? so you witchhunters can't find me...

Sad you have to do that in America.

Sean Richardson said...

This is several responses, to people who obviously don't know much about the movies they're talking about.

"I can list dozens, if not hundreds of films where the male victims are killed in much more brutal and graphic ways than the female victims. The two most discussed here, Saw and Hostel are just two of many, many examples."

There is nothing in 'Hostel' more brutal than the woman who is blowtorched. As for 'Saw', yes, the woman survives, but she also is made psychotic by the incident and bent to the will of Jigsaw, taking over for him. Most people would view this not only as a thinly veiled "rape", but the sort of "rape" where the victim winds up enjoying it. (I'm not limiting this to 'Saw'; a general -- if somewhat over-applied -- criticism of horror movies is that any time a masked man stalks a woman and plunges a phallic symbol into her repeatedly, it has subtext of rape to it.)

"How so? In Nightmare on Elm Street ... the "hero" who defeats the killer was a female."

Have you not seen the ending of 'Nightmare on Elm Street'? Freddy [spoiler] wins. The girl is shown in a sequel in a mental institution.

"It's a female who is the main opposition to the villain in Friday the 13th."

Where the killer is a *woman* who is so emotionally crazy that she kills people who are at the same camp where her son died decades ago. Nope, nothing wrong with that.

"Same with Nightmare on Elm Street. And Black Christmas. And Halloween. The list goes on and on. These are all strong female role models, who out last the men and are physically and emotionally strong."

'Nightmare' I dealt with above; I confess, I'm not familiar enough with the original 'Black Christmas' to respond, other than if you have a killer who exclusively targets women, of course the survivor who wins will be a woman. And 'Halloween', the woman does not out last the men and is not physically or emotionally strong. She barely survives because, at a key moment, Donald Pleasance comes in and shoots Michael Myers, getting rid of him in a way that Jamie Lee couldn't do.

Sean Richardson said...

"The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled on issues of cinema censorship, most notably in the case of the attempted banning of "Natural Born Killers"."

Does not follow; the lawsuit was that it should be banned because it inspired violence, and the Supreme Court rules that Hollywood could not be held responsible for what people do in response to their movies.

I know that you really really want to believe 'This Film Is Not Yet Rated', but that movie blatantly lied. Follow this:
- the movie accurately depicts that the MPAA was founded in the 1920's (as a mild response to the Fatty Arbuckle scandal). Further, accurately, that the industry considered it meaningless until the early 1930's.
- the movie subsequently claims that there were no court cases at the time that the current ratings system was instituted -- the 1960's -- which would suggest courts would allow censorship. This is a fact, but, in context, it becomes a lie, because it creates a false connection.
- On the other hand, if they had *accurately* examined the phenomenom, they would've found that the reason the studios suddenly started listening to the Hayes Code from the MPAA was due to the release of the film 'Scarface' (the original), and a few other lesser known gangster movies. Hollywood expected to lose obscenity court cases for the violence, and decided to make the Hayes Code more-or-less mandatory, in exchange for the charges being dropped.

So you're simply wrong to say that the MPAA was not empowered based on the threat of censorship.

Sean Richardson said...

"but that will be offset by publicity; in the long run, that won't actually affect them.

Yes it will. If Captivity is released in the summer, it will be destroyed by the big summer movies. There's more competition.


First off, they don't have to release it in summer. Second off, those movies will out-gross it either way, but it could easily be set up as counter-programming. I agree with you that companies don't release their good horror movies in summer, because they're afraid of the competition, but the MPAA is not telling them when to release it.

The contract should be changed. It's not fair to punish the whole crew. It should be changed so charges could be placed against those responsible and they would be issued fines.

They could've argued that point before they signed the contract. Beyond that, it would be illegal to fine Solomon, that's the whole reason they set up limited liability companies. Even if they could, how much could they fine him and still be "fair" while making it meaningful? How much of a bonus will he net if his illegal marketing technique is successful?

Putting all that aside, it seems dishonest to claim the crew is being punished. Having worked on films of various budgets before, I can honestly say that 95% or more of the crew don't care what they're working on, they're just working. The only people it might be punished are the director, maybe the writer (if he still stands behind the final version), the producers, and, to some extent, the star. [If you want to add in the DP, the composer, and the editor, on the grounds that they are major creative influences over the film, I'd accept that.] How are they being punished? People not seeing the movie? Not true, the movie will be widely available on DVD. Will their careers be damaged? Not any moreso than by doing a horror movie in the first place [what I mean is, there's a "horror ghetto" in Hollywood; it's difficult to get a non-horror movie made if you make your name as a horror filmmaker]. Nobody will hold the low grosses against them, because the entire process has been done above board, everybody will know why the movie does bad, and will blame After Dark. Their punishment will mean that they will have a harder time convincing people that they are a legitimate company worth working for; that's a fair punishment to me.

I still haven't seen you suggest what a reasonable punishment would be, beyond a fine, and it seems like virtually every case of corporate malfeasance over the last 40 years proves that fines are never as big as the profits, so people will always choose to maximize profits in the present and risk possible fines in the future.

"People who are crying censorship are stupid; if you get in bed with the MPAA, which you do when you sign the contracts with them or even just agree to produce a movie for a signatory company, you have to follow their rules. If you don't, you're economically censoring yourself."

Filmmakers are forced to go to the MPAA if they want any type of release for their movie. Their choices were sign the contracts and get a good release, or don't sign them and have their movie thrown into obscurity. I'm not saying that makes disobeying the rules OK, but it does make it a bit more reasonable.


"obscurity" like Romero's 'Dawn of the Dead'? Or maybe like 'Re-Animator'? Possibly Peter Jackson's 'Dead Alive'? Dario Argento's 'Suspiria'? Those are a few classic horror films off the top of my head which were released unrated. Some of them were released in both unrated and R-rated versions; the unrated versions did better box office.

The reason most unrated horror movies are destined to obscurity is that they are bad movies which, realizing they had nothing else to offer, chose to amp up the gore and deliberately go unrated. That's a valid choice, well within their means, but the movies don't hold up because they're bad movies.

Sean Richardson said...

"Your statement is identical to blaming the victim for the crime. Saying feminists are looking for iniquity so the same as saying a girl going to a party in a short skirt is looking to get raped. Of course feminists are looking for iniquity! What are you gonna say next, police officers are looking for crime? Narcotics officers are looking for drugs?"

I think he's expressing his point badly; I wouldn't quite agree with it as he wrote it, but I would say that when people go into a situation looking for prejudice, they are going to make judgement calls which lean toward prejudice (whether consciously or not) because they have a biased point of view going into it.

There are cases of obvious out-and-out misogyny, and then there are debatable ones. For instance, let's compare Sam Peckinpah with Clint Eastwood. Sam Peckinpah made movies which are generally regarded as misogynist, specifically because 'Straw Dogs', 'Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia', 'The Getaway', and 'The Iron Cross' all have variations on the idea of a woman being raped but starting to enjoy it. [There are other reasons he is accused of misogyny as well, however I have heard them defended as reflecting society.] Within the context of the movies -- especially 'Straw Dogs' -- this is simply unjustified misogyny.

Eastwood, on the other hand, made 'High Plains Drifter', a movie in which his character rapes a woman who begins to enjoy it. Yet I would firmly argue that the movie is not misogynistic and that, within the context of the film, the scene makes a much larger point. Essentially, the movie is about Eastwood coming to a town which is uniformly corrupt and punishing it for its sins. The woman -- who is subsequently revealed to be one of the worst people in the town -- represents the town, inasmuch as they want somebody to come along and be violent and "strong" and "male" [the quotes are because it's the town's definition of those words, not a real definition], and will accept whatever he does gladly, even as he is destroying/raping the town.

[If you haven't seen it, grant Eastwood the benefit of the doubt that he expresses that cinematically better than I do verbally.]

To me, the movie is not misogynist. But I recognize how it would be a judgement call, and how, isolating the scene of context, it could be read as misogynist. And what I'm saying is, I believe that people pre-disposed to be looking for prejudice (in this case, misogyny) would be more likely to read it as misogyny than impartial people would.

Sean Richardson said...

Many users here keep on insitisting on fredom of speech, even if it's not really the specific isssue here, because so many of the posters on this blog, or on the Huffington site for that matter, makes it feel like an attack to a certain genre or a certain type of movies.

I agree with you, but, factually speaking, "freedom of speech" doesn't enter into it. It's contract law. "freedom of speech" is a valid response to anybody who tries to take it beyond this specific instance and apply it more generally to, say, 'Hostel 2'.

To many of us, it's pretty hard to find any substantial difference between O'Reilly's stance and your own. Maybe it's my inability to completely get the subtlety of certain arguments, and if that's the case I apologize, but, for example, Joss Whedon's letter doesn't seem to me far away from what O'Reilly said.

It's pretty simple. O'Reilly's point was that he, O'Reilly, or those like him, should be allowed to decide what is indecent or obscene. Whedon's point was that the MPAA exists to keep certain images away from the public eye, images which the so-called typical parent would consider objectionable. However, in order for the MPAA to understand the POV of the typical parent, he felt that he should contact the MPAA and register his dissatisfaction with the poster for 'Captivity'. As it turned out, the MPAA had acted correctly, it was the distributor who put it up and, by doing so, violated the law. (They still have yet to offer *any* serious defense of their actions, and they are continuing to attempt to market themselves as "controversial" because the MPAA is angry with them.)

Do you see the distinction now? To me, it's pretty obvious. The problem is, if the MPAA allows them to get away with this sort of thing, it lends credence to the notion folks like O'Reilly have, that they're not doing their job properly and that somebody else (ie: the government) needs to step in.

And that is something I personally have trouble with.
Jill Soloway in her first article on the matter, published on the Huffington site, goes so far as to indicate other future targets (Hostel Part 2), and even to basically wish Elisha Cuthbert's career a quick end, which is something I found quite frankly appalling.


So, this movie has "freedom of speech" to subject unsuspecting people on the street to horrible images, but Jill doesn't have the freedom of speech to express an idle wish that an actress who has made a career off playing up to misogyny lose that career because of it? That's pretty twisted, dude.

I personally think Cuthbert is talented, but she has made a career out of objectifying herself.

It seems to me that many of you consider the people who work in the genre more or less a step above gun dealers, and people who actually enjoys horror/slasher films as all potential maniacs, or at best, misogynist thugs. Well, thank you very much, I don't feel I'm either.
I'm a liberal, I oppose the war in Iraq and death penalty, and I'm completely and totally pro-choice.


I'm with you on all this.

I also feel that the issue of misogyny in the genre, is brought up by people who have no familiarity with it.
It's true, instead, that the vast majority features lead female characters, who are strong, and find in themselves what it takes to face the threats and the obstacles they're up against.


Dude, I love horror movies, but your defense is silly. Females being physically over-powered and victimized for the amusement of the viewers -- and one woman finding the strength to respond to the man as a man would -- is the sort of thing which is default misogyny unless it's in the right hands. And there's a misogynistic streak in even the best of them; 'The Exorcist' - only a demonic little girl would masturbate, and a woman is punished for GASP being a single mother, by having her baby taken over. 'Rosemary's Baby' - the devil rapes her, but she learns to love raising the anti-christ. 'Night of the Living Dead' - women can't process the horrors and go catatonic, or are just plain stupid and subservient.

Even 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre' could be read as misogynist, though I don't think it is personally.

Violence scenes has to be put in the context of the whole movie, otherwise I could say that Schindler's List promotes anti-semitism, because it depicts scenes of violence toward Jews.

You're half right. Violent scenes need to be placed in the context not just of the movie, but of the society as a whole. Thus, Spike Lee can paint all his white characters as ignorant bigots and, though distasteful, he can point out that he's expressing how it feels to be black in America. Women in movies being rewarded for acting more male and punished for acting sexually is automatically worse than the reverse would be because of the patriarchal nature of the society which is expressing these things.

It's true that this has nothing to do with the fact that After Dark put up something they weren't supposed to, and that they should pay for that.
But it's also true, that maybe it's you guys who should remember that first, if you really want to keep this from becoming a campaign of repression, not so different from the "Heavy metal is Evil" nonsense of the Christian right.


If a heavy metal band hijacked the public airwaves and started broadcasting obscene lyrics onto the radio of anybody who was in their car listening to any radio station, I would support anybody who called for severe punishment of the band, even if they were the Christian right who I would normally wholeheartedly oppose as a kneejerk reaction.

Kind of like your reaction to this, actually.

Daniel said...

Sean Richardson

The NBK case was specifically about censorship. They were trying to ban and censor the film. That was the end goal. The Supreme Court said, "No."

Daniel said...

Sean Richardson

Yes, the MPAA was definitely created to avoid censorship. But today, we have precedence saying otherwise. Hell, I doubt the NBK case would even make it to the Supreme Court. It would get tied up in lower jurisdictions forever.

your comments are completely right on the "unrated" horror film issue. I own almost every one of those, and had seen each of them by the time I was 15. But, in a larger context, the films were more or less censored and overcame this. The censorship was wrong in the first place as demonstrated by people's will to see the full versions. Censors exist to protect the common good (which they don't do, but still...) but if people are seeking out a product, that makes the censors out of step with the market.

"that when people go into a situation looking for prejudice, they are going to make judgement calls which lean toward prejudice (whether consciously or not) because they have a biased point of view going into it."

That, I will concede.

"especially 'Straw Dogs' -- this is simply unjustified misogyny."

The justification would be that fact that while abhorrent, "Straw Dogs" is still a giant of a film. The art is of notable quality, even as the artist and the subject matter are repulsive. (note that I also own a copy of "Straw Dogs" on DVD).

I haven't seen the Eastwood film, but I "get" his work. He features rape prominently in "Unforgiven" and I admire that film greatly, even if it does seem to be an apologist piece for the death penalty. I'll have to check this film out.

Also, I agree with the vast majority of your other points. Well said.

Dougie14th said...

It is dehumanizing to call a group “the Jews” or “the blacks” it denies individuality. It is fair to say, “Jewish people overwhelmingly vote for the democratic party.” (I have no idea if that is true or not, I’m just using an example). But to say, “The Jews vote democratic” has a very different connotation. One that is more than slightly demeaning. It implies an almost subhuman quality about a group.

Ok, sorry about this. However, it's not demeaning, or at least I don't mean it to. I refer to many groups like this, including ones I'm part of.

Except for the fact that I cited specific examples and you used a hypothetical.

Fine, here are examples.

In the community room outside of her bedroom at the retirement community, a group of barely conscious, very elderly people sat in wheelchairs facing a TV where an afternoon rerun of Law and Order was on. From the threshold of my grandmother's room, I watched as these comatose seniors watched the TV examiners examining a dead prostitute, as the word "semen", "sperm", "lacerations on her vagina" and "rape" were uttered with the same calmness as a car commercial.

I don't see what's sexist? If this was intended to turn someone on, than fine. But things like this happen in real life. There is nothing wrong with portraying real life events. I believe it depends more on the message of the show (or movie). I haven't seen the CSI, so I can't comment, but that in itself isn't sexist.



that as we find ourselves doing everything, being everything, adding plastic to the parts of our bodies that aren't "hot" enough, shaving, waxing, then taking pole dancing lessons on the way home

Yes, this isn't good, but I don't think it has anything to do with sexism. Unreasonable things have been made for both sexes. Guys are expected to do stupid things about their looks also. To me, it seems the whole human race is required to do bad things or all this dumb stuff.

This is a case of an organization looking to avoid litigation. Now, I don’t know this story, but I am presuming that it was a Muslim woman who was in the class? I mean, the way you tell it makes absolutely no sense. There has never been a case where someone said, “hey, I am unrelated to this situation, but I would be offended if I were to be involved, so change it now!” that doesn’t happen.

Yes, there were Muslim people in the class. They were complaining that they were the victims of racism or something.

Once again, I'm not saying all Muslim people are like this. I'm saying there are some, maybe not even a majority, and there are some for every minority out there.

And there's been a growing trend of this stuff recently, so it's not some extreme occurance that isn't normal. I encounter stuff like this a lot.

Which cases?

I stated them in this post. Specifically, the one where Jill says there is a Holocaust against woman or compares this to the holocaust. The holocaust was the slaughter of 6 million Jewish people (or at least tons) and to seem to believe that something of that caliber is occuring against woman right now doesn't seem real. I think that's a made up case.

Your statement is identical to blaming the victim for the crime. Saying feminists are looking for iniquity so the same as saying a girl going to a party in a short skirt is looking to get raped. Of course feminists are looking for iniquity! What are you gonna say next, police officers are looking for crime? Narcotics officers are looking for drugs?

No, not at all. They are not the same. If a girl wears a short skirt and gets raped, that's not her fault. Plus, she wasn't asking for it. But someone can create prejudices and make themselves out to be the victim. They're very different. I'm not saying that sexism is the fault of feminists, I'm saying some feminists believe there is sexism where there is none. Those are two different things.

That’s not beside the point, THAT IS THE POINT. You lack the basic point of reference to understand what minority groups are dealing with. Yes, some overreact, but when you look at the statistics showing that 1 in 6 women will be sexually assaulted, are the complaints really that outlandish?

Yes. Some are. Some aren't. I think it's sexist that pedophiles and rapists are getting out of jail so easily. That's making sex crimes worse. But that doesn't mean that everything is sexist. There are a lot of sexist things in the world, I'm not denying that. 1 in 6 woman being raped is an atrocity. But that doesn't exclude some complaints from being outlandish. Once again, I'm not saying there is no sexism, just that some complaints of sexism aren't real.

There is a difference between saying “On a biological level, the male anatomy is designed to carry more muscle mass” and saying “in general women are weaker than men” the subtext of the latter comment is one of inferiority versus superiority. And that is sexist, even as the intent is not.

What you said was the exact same, except you phrased it differently. There's nothing sexist. It's the same as saying, generally women are less hostile than men. It's true. You can word it differently, but that's the truth. It has nothing to do with sexism or superiority.

ONE IN SIX WOMEN WILL BE SEXUALLY ASSUALTED DURING HER LIFETIME. (okay, these stats are for America, but I would presume they are similar to those found in Canada). This cultural acceptance of sexual abuse towards women is definitely similar to a holocaust being perpetrated upon them.

Yes, I will agree on this. However, I don't think it's all the case of sexism. The acceptance of this is sexist, but not it actually happening. I'd say it actually happening is just because there are a lot of sick guys that are attracted to females, but the acceptance is the sexist part.

Okay, I realize you’re in Canada, but here in the US, there is a definite bias against female politicians. Day in and day out Rush Limbaugh bashes Nancy Pelosi for being a woman. There is endless hate spewed toward Hillary Clinton and every time someone like Britney Spears shaves her head people treat it as evidence that perhaps a woman shouldn’t be president. Come on, you can’t hear one discussion of a female politician without a mention of her “grace” or a dissection of her clothing choices. When was the last time anyone mentioned anything about a male politicians clothing choices (Rudolph Giuliani’s cross-dressing aside)?

That's what I was saying. There is sexism. However, that doesn't mean everything is sexist. I was saying politics had sexism in it. We've only had 1 female prime minisiter in Canada.

Without first hand knowledge, what I’m saying is very hard to grasp. I know I didn’t “get” all of this until after the second time I was attacked. I have met very few people who can understand the position of the downtrodden without being an outsider themselves.

This isn't about being downtrodden because of being a minority. I'm not trying to understand that. I'm saying that some minority's claim everything's against them. Even some majoritys. I've seen white guys claim the same thing. I'm saying that not everything is against everybody and that a lot of people think that they're the victim all the time, when in fact, they're not. I'm not denying prejudism, but just saying it's not as prevalent as some people claim.

Your teacher sounds a bit loony. But again—ignore the top and bottom.

But this is happening a lot. I've had about 4 female teachers who did similiar things. Not to the same degree, but stuff like changing words in songs that the class was doing, from "mankind" to "peoplekind" and saying that the former wasn't correct and was sexist. But none to the same degree as the teacher I mentioned before. This is what I'm saying; there is sexism, but some people think there's more than there is.

Dude, I’ve written for www.bloody-disgusting.com since I was 16. I’m friends with several name horror filmmakers. I wrote a 16 page research report on the history of zombie films for G-d’s sakes!

Fine, you know way more than me about horror. But that doesn't mean you're right on a subjective issue like this.

Yeah, I know. But I presumed that that was just understood in the context of the conversation.

I'm just saying this isn't all horror.

EXACTLY! These things are not bad though! To even classify sex in the same category as drug use is erroneous. Sex is natural, healthy and normal. Drug use is generally self destructive. The moral of these movies is that a female in control of her own sexuality is a “bad” thing. And that is sexist.

I beg to differ. With STD's and pregnancy increasing steadily among youth, I'd say sex can be a bad thing. It isn't always, but sleeping around isn't good. Sex is healthy and natural. Drugs can also be healthy and natural. Sleeping around is never a good idea though, unless precautions are taken, which the characters in these movies never take.

But it’s a biological function. Is someone who likes to play basketball a lot and will play with whomever is hanging around the court a worse person that someone who only plays in a league? And are they also inferior if the person plays by different court rules than you? You’re working within artificial constraints. There is nothing wrong with sex. Films like Halloween work to vilify sexuality, especially female sexuality. Now, I don’t sleep around. Heck, I have trouble really enjoying the sex act without an emotional connection. But, just because I choose monogamy and love as my constraints does not mean that everyone should have to.

No, not everyone has to. But these filmmakers are just showing their views, which tend to be that sleeping around isn't good. This isn't comparable to basketball. There are horrible consequences that can result from sleeping around. It's the same as drug use in that sense. Sex isn't a bad thing, but when you are having sex with everybody, not taking precautions and possibly spreading disease and risking your life (if you get pregnant, than you're stuck with that baby), it's not a justifiable thing. Yes, if precautions are taken there's nothing wrong, but that's why in these movies it;s always the people not taking precautions and sleeping around who die.

Well, yes. But you can also have a heart attack jogging or be hit by a car. See, there are these things called condoms, right? Also, there are these things called birth control pills, okay? So, when used together, en tandem with regular testing, you’re gonna be fine. Be selective about your partners. I wouldn’t advise picking up some girl in a bar and hoping she’s clean. But, if you know the person well and know that he or she has been tested, and use birth control as well as keeping Morning After Pill’s around, you’re golden.

But the thing is, they never take these precautions. When have you seen a girl in a horror film use morning after pills? And it's not comparable to jogging. Cars don't hit joggers as a result of jogging. But disease is spread as a result of STD's and can be prevented. It's more comparable to crossing the street. If you are looking, you'll be fine, but if you run out and get hit, that's a result of your actions. Same with sex. It's always in your control (unless it's a rape).

But woman’s sexuality specifically is vilified by the fact that the woman who survives is pure. In a narrative there is always a character to be emulated if everyone except the sexually repressed female is dead, and she is alive seemingly because of her purity, what conclusion is the audience to draw?

That the filmmaker is against sleeping around. See the above comments to see my view on why this isn't wrong. Moms, who obviously have sex, aren't punished. It's kids who have careless sex.

Now, I’m a big first amendment guy, so I’m fine with pornography, but you have to admit, it is demeaning towards the women and men involved and promotes objectification.

Yeah, but towards the ones involved. Personally, I never objectify someone in real life. But I don't think there's anything wrong with enjoying nudity in a movie or picture because the person chose to do that. However, if it's a kid thing or rape, than that's not ok!

It’s a metaphor. You know, visual representation of something that it is not literally. It’s called art, perhaps you’ve heard of it?

Yes, I know artists use metaphors. But I don't see how a knife is necessairly a metaphor for male anatomy. What kind of weapon do you want them to use. Nearly any weapon (knives, clubs, guns) could be compared to phallic stuff. I think this isn't sexist. It depends on how the director does it, and I think more often than not, it's not sexist. These weapons are real, blood is real. What do you want them to do? Make blood solid so it resembles semen less?

Of course not, but the problem is your opinion is inevitably lacking perspective. It is possible for you to have fully formed opinions that agree or disagree with mine even without experiences like mine, but it is much harder to understand my points without the catharsis that comes from having experienced similar trauma.

Ok, I'll agree, but this isn't about sexism or prejudice. I'm not denying it. I'm just saying some people make this stuff up. I'm not saying you weren't the victim of some hate crimes. I'm saying that some people make out everything to be prejudice when it isn't.

It is there generally, like with this ad campaign. You just might not see it at first.

I agree with this ad campaign being mysginoistic (can't spell it). But I'm talking about other instances. I'm talking about saying there is a 2nd Holocaust going on right now against woman. That seems extreme to me.

Okay, I poorly stated that. What I should have said was “your actions are probably sexist racist ect.” Instead of “you are being” which is too accusatory in tone. The rest of your post makes some good points but it gets down to the fact that I think most of the major feminist speaking points are valid, and you don’t. to argue this further would just be masturbatory and cyclical.

Fine.

Ps. I don’t find Chapelle funny either.

Thank god!

Dougie14th said...

Plus, anything can be viewed as sexist. I'll provide some examples.

Horror movie where virgin girl lives - This could be deemed sexist using any of your arguments.

Horror movie where "sleeping around" girl lives- It objectifies women. It makes it seem like being objectified and sleeping around is a good thing. It makes it seem as if women are tools and that's a good thing.

Girls all die- It's sexist! All the women are killed off.

I just see it as a lose-lose situation. Anything that happens can be labeled sexist, and often is. This is what I'm against.

And I don't see how you could agree with me on the point "Men are better at math and women at languages". This, according to your theory, should be demeaning, but since I included both men and women, I assume that that's why you think it's ok. So, in that case, there should be nothing wrong with saying "men are stronger than women most of the time and women are more gentle than men most of the time (or women aren't as violent)

Daniel said...

"I beg to differ. With STD's and pregnancy increasing steadily among youth, I'd say sex can be a bad thing. It isn't always, but sleeping around isn't good. Sex is healthy and natural. Drugs can also be healthy and natural. Sleeping around is never a good idea though, unless precautions are taken, which the characters in these movies never take."

I will retort the other issues later because I am tired, but this I feel should be rectified immediately.

the statement above mine is not true. STD's and Pregnancy are significantly LESS prevalent today than they were in the late 80's early 90's when things hit their peak. In fact, today, the levels (again, US stats) are are about where they were at the beginning of the 80's.

post script--fun fact, the first 4 letters of my confirmation code to post were, MPAA, ironic, no?

Dougie14th said...

the statement above mine is not true. STD's and Pregnancy are significantly LESS prevalent today than they were in the late 80's early 90's when things hit their peak. In fact, today, the levels (again, US stats) are are about where they were at the beginning of the 80's.

Fine, you got me. It's good that people are taking more precautions. But that doesn't mean sleeping around should be encouraged. Far from it. If you take the precautions, fine, but a lot of people who sleep around all the time are putting their and other people's lives in danger.

post script--fun fact, the first 4 letters of my confirmation code to post were, MPAA, ironic, no?

That's scary!

Daniel said...

Just so you all know, the film's release has been pushed back and the director was called in for reshoots...to add more gore.

delsa said...

By the way, Captivity got rated R.
Thought you'd like to know.

Dougie14th said...

THANK GOD! It got the rating! Yes, an R. This is a win for all those who oppose censorship. I might even go see it.

Nick Skever said...

Damn...I was looking through the random limited releases and saw a link to this site. Pretty pathetic example of how the voice of a few scare the policy-makers of all. Grow up ladies and welcome to the real world. Sex and domination are facts of life and advertising the content of the film, its immature and childish to assume a moral high-ground based on 1960s ideals...

Power is given to women is through men. Thats just a reality. Do we sweep it under the rug? Do we try to change this? Well the attempt to change it relies on the whim of men in the first place, and the rug has a lot of other dirt under it...so we leave it out and deal with it.

Anonymous said...

Get a life. It's not even that serious to go around petitioning it. Do something meaningful with your lives.

Daniel said...

In case anyone still cares, I actually went to see the film. There were obviously heavy re-shoots and it appears as though the original film might have been a PG-13 until all the controversy. The film wasn't scary, or even disgusting, it was Just boring. Courtney Solomon is as bad a director (he admits to doing the reshoots himself without the Palm D'Or winning Rolfe present) as he is a studio head. I've also seen After Dark's next release, "Skinwalkers" and it's an even bigger dog.