Politics Archive for April, 2009

Barefoot and pregnant

It’s been a while since I’ve written about a story on Jeff Wells’ blog, Hollywood Elsewhere, but this one just got me so riled I couldn’t let it pass by. Wells wrote a piece (relatively tame, for him) about how he doesn’t like the way Sasha Grey speaks in The Girlfriend Experience. There’s nothing wrong with the post itself — hell, we all get annoyed by the smallest things about particular films from time to time.
No, what got me irritated was the first comment on the post, in which the writer essentially blames the decline of “standards, manners and civility across the board” on the advent of the two-income family. Read: on women who choose to have careers rather than stay home barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, doing all those things that, you know, women are supposed to do. Because home is our place, right? What’s interesting is that the commenter very carefully avoids using the words “women” and “work” in the comment, but the intent underlying the comment is pretty clear.

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Observe and Report Q&A

In the comments section of the previous post on Observe and Report, T. Holly asks:

Sorry about my tone, but would like to know what you think of Rizov’ quiz Kim, and if you’d care to answer the four questions. I did, and not in a jokey way: A. is a script fix that I could realistically imagine an savvy Producer ordering, even as a pick-up/re-shoot to cover the bases (the button and the in-character come back; a third hit or payoff would only be necessary for the hearing impaired).

Thanks for the pointer, T. Holly. While GreenCine is usually one of my regular reads, I’ve been sick as hell this week and am way behind on my usual blog reading, and missed this piece, in which Vadim Rizov also writes about the “date rape” controversy over Observe and Report (and, good for him, also slams the writers who have been excoriating this film based solely on the trailer, which I agree is totally unprofessional). Unfortunately, this GreenCine piece didn’t turn up in my Google reader search as I was looking for any posts on the subject I might have missed, or I would have inluded a mention to it, so giving it a shout-out here.
At the end of his piece, Rizov posits that there’s a “massive misreading of the film going on” and offers what he sees as the “right” questions. Below are my answers to his questions — and here’s a link to the post T. Holly refers to, if you’d like to read his questions … it’s too much material for me to feel comfortable pasting in here, even with a link back to his piece. So go there and read what he has to say, then you can come back here and read my answers and see if you agree with them.
My answers are after the jump ….

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Who's Your Daddy?

Just read this NYT article about the website SeekingArrangements.com, which hooks up would-be “sugar daddies” with “sugar babies”. Is it prostitution, or modern “dating” that’s simply more open and honest about what each party seeks than traditional dating models?
Perhaps surprisingly, I’m ambivalent about whether a site like this objectifies women any more than dating or staying in an unhappy marriage for financial reasons.
Your thoughts, one way or the other?
Hat tip to the various folks who posted this on Facebook …


City of Gold?

Very revealing article from The Independent about what lies under the glittering surface of Dubai … the environmental issues, the financial issues of a city built on a mountain of debt and, worst of all, the human rights abuses of the slave class on which the city relies to keep building and keep functioning.
Fascinating read.


Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon