Monday, December 21, 2015

some riffs over at Slate, some interesting some embarrassingly belated.

Some movies so telegraph their righteous moral in the trailer you don't really even need to bother seeing the film at all.  Wasn't going to waste any time on the Fifth Estate even though Cumberbatch is fun enough on screen.

The latest OScar bait big idea moralizing film for the season is probably Concussion.   Not particularly interested in either football so probably not going to get to seeing it but somebody considers the rhetorical game played by the film to be so dishonest as to require an extended rebutta.

http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2015/12/the_truth_about_will_smith_s_concussion_and_bennet_omalu.single.html

Was it Ebert who wrote a while back that films never traffic in rational discourse and ideas but play straight to emotional manipulation?  Film even ostensibly documentary film, is paying with emotions and pushing buttons.  It's a show-and-tell medium.  Even those films that might be described as not telling you too much show you things, and there are films that permit you to read yourself on to the film but this, too, is still a form of emotional steering, if less direct. 

Now maybe this is an unfair proposal, but in some sense any kind of film is some kind of propaganda for something.  That's just how humans are.  If your message film rides the crest of a wave of social activism and manages to be well-timed you get to have your moment at a moment when people pay attention.  If you have your big message badly timed and you make your pitch too late then you come across as having made propaganda untimely born. 

Well, take this piece over at XX.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2015/12/18/how_did_america_get_so_pussified.html

Evangelical pastor Mark Driscoll, who’s been castigated by his own flock for his misogynist, sex-obsessed teachings, thinks the labia mania started at the very dawn of the human race. From a 2000 post in an online forum:
It all began with Adam, the first of the pussified nation, who kept his mouth shut and watched everything fall headlong down the slippery slide of hell/feminism when he shut his mouth and listened to his wife who thought Satan was a good theologian when he should have lead her and exercised his delegated authority as king of the planet.
What would a truly, madly, deeply pussified America look like?

It only took about four years of slow and steady networking to finally dredge up the William Wallace II writings.  It took a while.  Some of the weirdest stuff "Using Your Penis" wasn't even all that widely circulated.  It's perhaps too characteristic of the piece that the references are second and third hand before getting to the google docs cache.  And, as Driscoll's posse put it last year, this was commentary on culture dating back to 2000.  Wenatchee The Hatchet brought the content back not because it was of recent vintage but because the moutning evidence of Driscoll's views suggested his fundamental thinking had not changed over the course of those 14 years.  He's never actually repudiated any o fthe ideas he had or espoused, just told Brian Houston he feels differently.  So a Trump/Driscoll comparison might not be all that unwarranted, really.

It's just that Slate was behind the curve even a couple of years ago. 
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