Saturday, March 31, 2007

Other Voices / Ain't It Cool News and Huffington Post

Moriarty at Ain't It Cool News has written a fascinating editorial here: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/32101 that reflects the way many of us feel about this issue.

Also, Harry Knowles, Moriarty and the whole Ain't It Cool News crew have linked this site to theirs, so people can come here and look at what we're about. Our thanks to all of them.

The Huffington Post has also linked to us, and provided us a place to talk about this and present our position: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jill-soloway/. Our thanks to them as well.

We continue discussing this issue in the "Discuss" section below. If you're here to see what all the fuss is about, we hope you'll check it out and make up your own mind.

17 comments:

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

Anonymous said...

I do hope the MPAA doesn't give this film a rating. I hate the fact that as soon as one film genre has a hit, we get a glutton of knock of films.

It's time for horror to get original. I'll be glad when torture porn has run it's course.

Daniel said...

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.

sean said...

Daniel - saying that every decision they make is flawed because of the their nature is a bigger logical fallacy than studying their argument and deciding whether you agree with it or not.

If a Klansman called somebody out for being racist, the fact that they are a Klansman would not mean that the accusation was untrue. If it were true, it would be even more damning that it was so racist that even a Klansman could see it! In the same way, if the MPAA is sexist, and claims a poster is too sexist, then isn't that a sign that it's really really sexist? Like, it goes too far even for the MPAA?

"Unfortunately, what it also does is act as a form of economic censorship for films with values that challenge social norms."

It seems as if you're suggesting that removing the MPAA would change that. Which seems weird, because the MPAA is set up and run by the studios who produce and distribute movies and the theaters who show them. It would seem that, if theater owners wanted to shot those movies, they wouldn't have the MPAA screw them over.

Anonymous said...

I just saw this, and am beyond disgusted. There is zero reason why that billboard should have been in a public place.

Does anyone else think misogyny is getting worse? I've been noticing it much more frequently - and in a MUCH more violent form -just since January. The level of violence was what initially caught my attention, it seemed to spring up overnight.

http://thevictoriaadvocate.com/427/story/36738.html

AP Wire Service
Young men are attacking and murdering the homeless in greater numbers than ever before.

from the article:
1999 - 60 reported attacks
2005 - 86 reported attacks
2006 - 142 reported attacks

Gee, I think I answered my own question. Wonder where these young men are getting their ideas? If only I could look at a giant billboard in a public space for inspiration...

Bet you anything the number of rapes are up, but the number that gets reported is down, because of all the media attention on false rapes. Even the FBI has said repeatedly that the number of false rape reports are the same as any other crime - 8% of REPORTED rapes.

paulo said...

Have you ever heard the phrase "There's no such thing as bad publicity"? It applies here. The more you make a fuss, the more people will hear about what you don't want them to see, and the more they will want to see it. I had never heard of Captivity before people started fussing, and now I want to see it.

Anonymous said...

This incident, and the comments in that other thread, were the last straw. I no longer believe a significant purportion of men are rational. You need help. And I'm going to see that you get it. :)

I am taking a van full of people to see our congress critter. I've done nothing but bitch with my friends for months, but forget that. Action! I might need two vans, heh.

For starters, I'd like a mandatory reporting system in place, where certain items are identified and filed with a governing office as each film is released. Specifically,the number of sexualized torture and non-sexualized torture scenes, the actual view time spent watching sexual torture and non-sexualized torture, an accurate amount of physical and psychological pain which would be expected to result. All broken down by gender. And we mustn't forget to ask if the violent harm was inflicted after some patriarchal code of ethics had been broken, and I'll leave that up to the sociologists to argue for definitions.

My point is that there's a pattern of hate here, it's always about the woman, and it's always SEXUAL IN NATURE. Not so when the victim is male. He's not posed so his cock bulges and heaves when he bleeds and the camera catches every last delicious drop dripping between his perfectly waxed balls. He's not portrayed in 10,000 different rape scenes, each one more brutal than the last.

Huge difference and you know it.

One poster suggested that movies were used as a way for producers or society to work out certain unresolved issues. What is it exactly that is still unresolved for you about rape? It's not a majority of women viewers who want to watch rape, it's you. What does it say about the general intelligence level of people who read comic books or rape porn to "resolve their issues" instead of ... oh I don't know - read a fucking psychology book?

The time has come for government intervention.

The ads have gone too far. Who cares about the thousands of women who were forced without warning to see how much men hate them? Every day, day in, day out, everywhere you turn? I care, damn you all, even if you don't. This is not merely a reaction to this one incident, it's my last nerve breaking because the misogyny has gone unfettered for far too long.

Where's the thousands of billboards with a sawed off bloody dick? Where's the 4 or more men who are NOT murdered every single day by their intimate "partner"? Where's the tens of thousands of unreported rapes because the boys are too afraid of being labeled "whore" and "cunt" and "LIAR!" by the internet groupies and media apologists? Where's the men who only make 73 cents on the dollar?

This is what you call a PATTERN of hate. And it is going to stop. It comes from everywhere, and everywhere is going to stop.

At the individual level, men are more likely to sexually assualt if they have hostile and negative sexual attitudes towards women and identify with traditional images of masculinity and male privilege (Heise, 1998; O'Neil &Harway, 1977). At the interpersonal level, another predictor especially among young men is attachment to male peers wo encourage and legitimate woman abuse (Heise, 1998). And at the macro-social level, rates of violence against women are higher in contexts in which manhood is defined in terms of dominance, toughness, entitlement to power or male honour, there are rigid gender roles, and violence is condoned as a means to settle interpersonal disputes (Heise,1989).

Descriptive studies show that compared to their less aggressive peers, sexually aggressive men typically view relationships with women as hostile and adversarial, have a more promiscuous and impersonal orientation toward sex (Malamuth, Linz, Heavy, & Acker, 1995), and show greater arousal to depictions of forced intercourse (Bernat, 1997; Lohr, Adams, & Davis, 1997). Social information processing and judgments of sexual interactions are further influenced by aggressive men's rape supportive cognitions (e.g., Bernat, Wilson, & Calhoun, 1997).

Studies have shown that incarcerated rapists hold more rape supportive attitudes than non-rapists (Burt, 1980). Furthermore, subjects who hold more rape supportive attitudes report a more extensive history of sexual aggression, indicate more likelihood of future sexual aggression if assured of not getting caught, and display a more deviant pattern of sexual arousal than those subjects who hold less rape supportive attitudes (Koss & Dinero, 1989; Malamuth, Haber, & Feshbach, 1980;Malamuth, 1986; Schewe & O'Donohue, in press).

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

I'll have to dig up studies on the effectiveness of marketing, etc, before I see the congress critter.

Here's another thing. Several women in that other thread, myself included, made the point repeatedly that they feel the misogyny has gotten worse, that it's more brutal, that the TREND IS INCREASINGLY IN YOUR FACE and at least for myself (Jill said something as well) that it FEELS LIKE it's going to get even worse if something is not done to reverse the trend, not merely slow it's advance. One lovely Dove commercial doesn't wash all the other sins away.

Misogyny KILLS women every day of the year and you are saying, in effect, "shut the fuck up bitch about your feelings, because right now I need to cum, and horror porn is the best!" "Who cares if dumb bitches get killed because we increased the hostile environment where those hatefull attitudes are now normal."

If this doesn't indicate a profoundly disturbed group of individuals who need treatment immediately, I don't know what does. If advertising didn't work to influence people to act, then why would companies spend billions each year? Stop wasting money, if it doesn't have any affect.

Maybe it's not just misogyny, because young men are also beating the crap out of the homeless population at dramatically increasing numbers as well. Why? "On a whim" "just because he was there". A growing number of homeless are vets, and now they're dead.

link

Anonymous said...

Paulo, that comment is intended to silence.

So, what kind of therapy would you like? :)

Dougie14th said...

To that anonymous poster:

I no longer believe a significant purportion of men are rational.

Wow, you're fighting against sexism, and yet your first paragraph contains the most prejudice comment to grace this site.

It's not a majority of women viewers who want to watch rape, it's you.

I'm unclear here. If you mean people who get pleasure out of watching simulated rape, I'd agree they have issues. But I'd defend to my death their right to watch it, because I know that some people would say I'm sick for watching "Final Destination" and getting enjoyment, when in fact, I do not feel that I'm sick. As well, I enjoyed "The Hills Have Eyes" and thought the rape scene was great. It was disturbing, gross and freaked me out. It's exactly what I wanted to get from that horror movie: freaked out. I didn't enjoy it, but it was great because it was horrifying! Horror movies are meant to horrify! And it wasn't very sexual either. It was done in a tasteful manner, as far as rape goes. Once anything is real though, I'm against viewing it.

The time has come for government intervention.

Why should censorship be the answer? Who decides what's morally wrong or right to view?

Where's the thousands of billboards with a sawed off bloody dick? Where's the 4 or more men who are NOT murdered every single day by their intimate "partner"? Where's the tens of thousands of unreported rapes because the boys are too afraid of being labeled "whore" and "cunt" and "LIAR!" by the internet groupies and media apologists? Where's the men who only make 73 cents on the dollar?

There isn't any, which is good. Now we have to make sure that this stops happening to woman. But you should never wish suffering on a group of people just because one group suffers. Feminism is about equality and making womens rights equal to mens, but by improving life for women, not making mens lives worse.

Several women in that other thread, myself included, made the point repeatedly that they feel the misogyny has gotten worse, that it's more brutal, that the TREND IS INCREASINGLY IN YOUR FACE and at least for myself (Jill said something as well) that it FEELS LIKE it's going to get even worse if something is not done to reverse the trend, not merely slow it's advance.

Personally, I may be wrong, but I see stuff improving. More women are becoming independant and I see improvements in many different areas. However, there still is sexism that needs to be dealt with, I just don't see it getting worse. But that's me personally. For all I know, it could be getting worse.

Anonymous said...

"He's not posed so his cock bulges and heaves when he bleeds and the camera catches every last delicious drop dripping between his perfectly waxed balls."


I'd like for you to point out to me the movie with the female version of this scene.
Because, the only one I can think of, is Ken Russell's The Devils, which a) is not a horror, b) it was made in the 70s.
It's a disturbing movie, for sure, surreal and visionary. Incidentally, it's also a masterpiece.

"He's not portrayed in 10,000 different rape scenes, each one more brutal than the last."

Excuse me, even in this case I'd like you to point out the movies in questions, because, again I can't think of any.


"http://thevictoriaadvocate.com/427/story/36738.html"

O.K, we got it, you got a website. Good for you.

"If this doesn't indicate a profoundly disturbed group of individuals who need treatment immediately, I don't know what does. If advertising didn't work to influence people to act, then why would companies spend billions each year? Stop wasting money, if it doesn't have any affect."

Hmmmmm....O.K. Last time I checked the purpose of movie marketing was to promote movies, not sex related crimes, but, I don't know, maybe it's my memory that fails me....

emma said...

Well first of all I'm English, so not hugely familiar with the issues surrounding the MPAA, but Daniel's point seems to be a complete non sequitur. The MPAA may well be sexist, racist and homophobic, but that is no reason not to ask it to prevent a film being shown that presents extreme sexualised violence against women as entertainment. Two wrongs don't make a right! Which is the point that those who advocate this kind of film being available in the name of freedom of speech and anti censorship often miss. If freedom of speech is freedom of hate speech, then I don't think freedom of speech is all that wonderful personally.

It's really encouraging anyway to see the opposition in the USA to woman hating torture porn which is shortly to hit our shores soon - lucky us!

Anonymous said...

Washington, D.C. Metro service recently put up posters advertising Captivity (it's the version with Cuthbert behind a chain-link fence). I have to ride the Metro five days a week, and I don't want to be forced to look at that poster every day. I e-mailed a complain to Metro and was given their typical brush-off that they're not responsible for the content of the ads they run, and that if someone pays them, they have to run their ads. This is complete bullshit, as Metro has refused to run ads in the past, in one instance from a pro-marijuana legalization group. Is there anything else I can do or anyone I can contact about this? They suggested that I contact the "distributor" of the advertisements, which would be useless.

Anonymous said...

You can write Washington area newspapers, push national organizations such as NOW to take up this issue, have a counselor raise a stink at a city hall meeting, etc.

daffyphack said...

I'm a horror fan, and I also find this current trend of horror porn disturbing. Saw, Hostel, Turistas, and now Captivity...I even watched a few of them before I figured out a couple of things. One: they're honestly no more scary than the news. The Iraqi beheading videos are infinitely more frightening, simply because its something just as, if not more, horrible happening in real life. Two: the films themselves are really lazily slopped together. I can come up with ways to torture people off the top of my head, and a ham-fisted explanation for the killer's motivations (he's got a disease, he enjoys pain, blah blah). The good horror is the stuff that gets in your head. Jacob's Ladder and Session 9 are good examples.

As for Captivity, I'm afraid their current campaign is working. They even have the audacity to use their pulled billboards in their tv ads. Personally, I want to see it, just to see why a brilliant director is making a p.o.s. snuff film. However, you bet your ass I'm not going to give them my money.

I'll buy a ticket for Ratatouille (a movie that deserves my revenue) and sneak in, or just download it. I would advise anyone else thinking of seeing it to do the same.

SRBissette said...

Having finally seen CAPTIVITY on DVD this week, this is all much ado about nothing. It's KISS THE GIRLS (a film no one protested) from the POV of the victim, who survives -- and lashes out against men as a result of her experience, a'la MS 45 and its imitators, right up to Jodie Foster/Neil Jordan's THE BRAVE ONE.

Lurid advertising predates the MPAA, and the MPAA-approved ads of the late '60s and throughout the '70s put anything seen in ads in the past 20 years to shame.

More often then not, the films subvert their ballyhoo -- as does Captivity, clearly siding against its male antagonists and quite thoroughly demonizing them. That, oddly, is in perfect accord with some of the screeds on this comment board.

The last time I crossed a feminist protest line to see a film, it was for Jennifer Lynch's BOXING HELENA. When I asked the young women protesting the film if they'd seen it, NONE of them had. When I pointed out it was a film BY a woman ABOUT the topic that so offended them, they didn't care: their outrage was all that mattered, film unseen. Thus, they were effectively neutering the voice of a female artist (indeed, Jennifer Lynch's career was deep-sixed by the protests). How is that appropriate?

CAPTIVITY doesn't represent Roland Joffe's work, either, as the gore scenes were added later, and the ended was changed three times. It's not a good film, nor a bad film: it's just more studio product. Your protests made it of more interest to see than it would have earned otherwise: again, score.

Finally, thank the film that ushered in the 21st Century torture genre and the greater freedom to depict torture on the big screen under the more-tolerant 'R' rating: Mel Gibson's THE PASSION (OF THE CHRIST), the most grueling, graphic 'R' film I've seen since the early '70s. Thank the current President and Administration's foreign policies for ushering in the past six years of what you label 'torture porn' -- the only true 'torture porn' going on, aside from individual criminal actions, are our current gov't's appetite, which inevitably shapes the horror films of the day. Prior to RENDITION, these were the ONLY mainstream films (the few documentaries on the subject are relegated to non-mainstream venues) to deal in any way with the new reality. That some of these films should 'offend' is, of course, the point. Horror movies by definition confront and attack cultural taboos; that's what they do, what they are, how they function.

SRBissette said...

I posted a three-part essay on this film and the controversy over the ad campaign:

Part one is here -- http://srbissette.blogspot.com/2007/11/recaps-recoveries-christmas-mail-to.html -- scroll down to the beginning of the CAPTIVITY essay;

Part two is here --
http://srbissette.blogspot.com/2007/11/cinematic-atrocities-songs-that-have.html

And the conclusion (about the film itself, on its own terms) is here:
http://srbissette.blogspot.com/2007/11/to-see-or-not-to-see-that-is-question.html

Also note the comments on the final post, in which a woman named Bridgett and I discuss the film and controversy further.

Anonymous said...

Some people have too much time on their hand, this blog and campaign is a obvious big flashing arrow to that fact.