Friday, June 15, 2007

My Golden Years

Now that I am pretty much officially elderly, I thought I'd cement my status by writing letters to newspaper editors, expounding on my disapproving views on a variety of things.

Well, last Sunday, I managed to end up in print in the "Calendar" section (essentially Arts & Leisure) of the Los Angeles Times:

THE piece on the director of the "Hostel" films, Eli Roth, was eye-opening to say the least. Trying to defend this gore as a generational and "artistic" response to the politics of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib is reductive and irresponsible, with a skewed perspective on cause and effect. Roth's psychiatrist father may dismiss criticism for accompanying the young Eli to horror films as "bourgeois," but I have a different take: A parent who would allow an 8-year-old to watch "Alien" is a borderline psychopath and is also very likely to raise one.
Santa Barbara

It's nice to see that a few other readers agreed with my disapproving point of view:

I find any promotion of a guy like Eli Roth despicable. You can put all the window dressing you want on what he does; you can call it "gorn" or whatever you want. What it is, is pure mental illness. Roth is a metaphysically degenerate, psychologically retarded guy who is producing dehumanizing torture films. Kids see commercials for these movies at 8 and 9 at night, and some will see this article. This kind of exposure normalizes what is inherently sick and sadistic. We all, with everything we do and don't do, with everything we say and don't say, genuinely affect the world we live in. Roth can be as glib as he wants about what he does, but it's having a genuinely negative effect on the world.
Westlake Village

EVEN at his tender age, Eli Roth has perhaps been living in the world of "pretend" just a little too long. It is terribly sad when a person is so disconnected from the damaging effects of his work that he can make the comment (without a touch of irony) that "nothing really scares" him anymore. How much more obvious can the effect of his work be?

Why don't Roth and the other "masters of horror" spend their valuable time doing something to truly confront the political conditions that make it acceptable to torture prisoners and carve up women? I'll tell you why — because there's no horse ranch in Iceland, no mansion on Malibu Beach, resulting from that work. In the end, there is one rationale only — profit.

I now return you to your more productive, young, non-elderly lives.


BigAssBelle said...

please be proud of yourself. we all need to speak out against this kind of ugly garbage. good for you.

this clown's own words are telling and frightening. when he says nothing scares him anymore . . . that scares the shit out of me. i think we can wear away our own ability to be frightened, to be outraged, to find something unacceptable and intolerable, by continued exposure to the scary, unacceptable, outrageous and intolerable things. then what do we have? we're numb and empty and we lose a bit of our humanity.

good for you, joe.

Huntington said...

I haven't read the L.A. Times article in question, but I wonder if maybe he meant "nothing scares him anymore" in art, as opposed to real life. I think it's possible to have been so jaded by overexposure to the cartoonish "horror" in movies, TV, video games etc. that, especially if you work in that genre, to see any effort to "create" horror from nothing as just not scary. You've been behind the scenes too long, is what I mean.

If that's what he meant, he's just an imprecise asshat who should learn to speak more clearly and stop scaring those of us who still can be scared by such artistic-merit-free tripe. (I know someone who saw Hostel 2 and now doesn't ever want to visit Slovakia - an extreme reaction, I know.) The depiction of fantastic horror has its place in art (Grimm's Fairy Tales, for starters), but from what I've seen, the Hostel movies aren't that.

Of course, if he really meant "nothing," then let's eat his brains like the zombies in "Night of the Living Dead."

copperred said...

Oh you cute curmudgeon you! Keep it up and we'll be talking marriage, though for you it might be one of convenience, as I could probably procure a red passport for you. Then I could write great works of horror to express my bitterness, andd die wealthy and bitter.

Films of the nature do creep me out, for all the reasons mentioned.

tater said...

I am glad you make the time and effort to speak up against things you find disturbing or flat out wrong. Perhaps age has something to do with it, but I think wisdom is more apt. The consumption of this humanely numb and violent filth serves to add more to moral ambiguity, and less to moral responsibility. I feel the same way about violent video games aimed at the average 14 year old. It numbs them to the horrer of such acts, and to the real suffering and loss to victims and their loved ones. I applaud you, one ancient fuck to another.

Salty Miss Jill said...

Just like being politically incorrect for shock value, I hate this new wave of ultra-violent slasher fims, too. Although I'm pretty immune to the scare factor in films, since I was allowed to watch any type of gory horror movie there was (my mom was a big fan)...but any hint of sex or nudity made the movie off limits!

I wonder what that says about me?