Amoeblog

Downton Rapey?

Posted by Charles Reece, March 8, 2013 10:08am | Post a Comment
downton abbey series 1 episode 3 mary
Lady Mary Crawley

The porn debate is underscored by two fundamentally antagonistic views of the purpose of law in society. The first view, to which pro-sex feminists subscribe, is that law should protect choice. "A woman's body, a woman's right" applies to every peaceful activity a woman chooses to engage in. The law should come into play only when a woman initiates force or has force initiated against her. The second view, to which both conservatives and anti-porn feminists subscribe, is that law should protect virtue. It should come into play whenever there has been a breach of public morality, or a breach of "women's class interests.
-- Wendy McElroy, "A Feminist Defense of Pornography"

I recently watched the French documentary Mutantes: Punk Porn Feminism, which contains interviews with women who participate in and/or support what you'd think based on the title. One of the main points Virginie Despentes makes with her film is that much of the antagonism the sex trade continues to face is rooted in an old fashioned patriarchal control of women's bodies. It's as if the entire familial tradition would crumble if women were allowed to do with their bodies what they want, giving sex away for free or for cash. This same notion can be seen in pop culture in the way rape tends to be seen as the worst thing that one can do to a fictional female victim, not murder. The contamination of a woman's body, the violation of her "virtue" is too evil to face, rather just kill her and get it over with. And, despite how much I love the subgenre, the same might be said of rape-revenge films, even those with an ostensible feminist message (e.g., I Spit on Your Grave), as if the moral equation balances out with the quid pro quo of rape and murderous vengeance. But the feminist view here (at least the right one) is that a woman shouldn't have virtue forced on her, solely defined by others to have her live as they see fit. This is McElroy's quoted distinction in the two views of law, which accurately places certain feminists on the side of traditional conservatives.

My Rotting Organ Predicts the Oscars 2013

Posted by Charles Reece, February 24, 2013 04:06pm | Post a Comment
oscars 2013

I had my decomposing gall bladder removed this week just so I could read it to make my predictions. Against the wire, but here they are ...

Best Picture: Argo

A film that suggests Hollywood saved lives. Really, there's no contest here.

Leading Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)

Joaquin Phoenix is great doing what Day-Lewis did the last time around, a slash-your-wrists performance for Paul Thomas Anderson, but no one seems to like The Master much. Maybe it guilt trips Hollywood into thinking about the days when it used film. I don't know, but the other choices aren't worth much.

Supporting Actor: Robert Di Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)

This should've gone to Leonardo DiCaprio, the best thing about Django Unchained; but no one seemed to notice, since he's not up for anything. As it stands, it'll probably go to De Niro for appearing to care enough to act this time around. 

Best Actress: Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)

Maybe political backlash over the film's pro-torture sentiment will kill her chances, but I'm thinking strong-willed woman in the middle of another of Bigelow's macho wank fantasies as tough-minded realism has something for everyone. Besides, the film won't win anything else.

Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)

Sally Fields is shrill and irritating -- at what point do people realize that she's not really playing a part? Hathaway can really sing, cut her hair and the Academy really likes her.

Animated Feature: Frankenweenie

Continue reading...

What Gives "Superman Lives"? Jon Schnepp's What's in My Bag and Kickstarter Campaign

Posted by Charles Reece, February 3, 2013 09:18am | Post a Comment

Along with being a director for Cartoon Network's Metalocalypse, Jon Schnepp is the fellow who designed its protagonists, the group Dethklok. He's currently trying to get Kickstarter funding for The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened?, a documentary looking into the vagaries of Tim Burton's aborted Superman project that was to star Nicholas Cage. It could've been the most spectacular travesty of a Superman film ever made ... and that's saying something given Superman III and IV. Jon recently visited Amoeba Hollywood and recommended some stuff:


Jon Schnepp

Some Records That I Liked in 2012

Posted by Charles Reece, January 28, 2013 12:50pm | Post a Comment
I'm going to get back to my top 11 film list, but I'm interrupting it for the standout music of 2012, which was really a bunch of reissues of stuff that wasn't so readily available before (and because most of these reissues are limited, the music will continue to be not readily available in a few years).

possession score lp
Andrzej Korzyński - Possession (Finders Keepers)

The recent interest in the cinema of Andrzej Żuławski is a joke, but as far as it goes, Possession is probably this halfwit auteur's pretentious masterpiece, a risible prime example of Eurotrash art horror. Although the film oeuvre deserves to stay forgotten, Korzyński's electo-orchestral score is brilliant, and certainly the best argument for the director's faddish resurgence.

the beyond score lp
Fabio Frizzi - The Beyond (Mondo Tees)

One of the top 5 horror scores of all time. It doesn't get any better than the choral cues on this record.

halloween iii score lp
John Carpenter & Alan Howarth - Halloween III: Season of the Witch (Death Waltz)

Forget how shitty the movie is and how disappointed you were upon first seeing it; this is the best score Carpenter ever did. With Howarth as his co-composer this time around.

Le Triedre fertile
Pierre Schaeffer - Le Trièdre fertile (Mego - Recollection GRM)

Really, the whole line of GRM electronic reissues should be on here, but my favorite so far is Schaeffer's first and only fully synthesized album. At a proper volume, his tones will turn your skeletal structure to warm honey. The sound quality of these LPs is as good as you'll ever hear.

dockstader electronic volume 1
Tod Dockstader - Electronic, Vol. 1 (Mordant Music)

Dockstader's never made a bad album. He's one of the best electronic composers, always creating a full aural environment. Here he proves himself to be one the best composers of library music, too.

One of my favorite films from 2012: Lincoln

Posted by Charles Reece, January 20, 2013 10:16pm | Post a Comment
lincoln poster

Intellectual critics tend to hate Steven Spielberg's films, and Lincoln is no exception. The nastiest laceration I've come across is from one of my favorite social critics, Thomas Frank


Spielberg & Co. have gone out of their way to vindicate political corruption. They have associated it with the noblest possible cause; they have made it seem like harmless high jinks for fun-loving frat boys; they have depicted reformers as ideological killjoys who must renounce their beliefs in order to succeed. This is, in short, what Lincoln is about.

It is true that the film dramatizes Lincoln's greatest achievement by showing the less than pure, even immoral, underbelly of the politics involved: the cajoling, lying, shaming, threatening and bribery. In doing so, it also argues that a radical "killjoy" like Thaddeus Stevens has to publicly repress his own views in order to get things done -- in this case, passing the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery. (Imagine radical voices not being heard in this country! Hard to believe.) Frank condemns the film for what it doesn't show: those times when such morally compromised methods lead to or support political corruption. But he never really gets around to the fundamental point here: politics is always compromised, even when on the side of angels. And contrary to his take, the film does make distinctions in compromise: Lincoln goes beyond the law with the intention of freeing the slaves (who are legally enslaved), but doesn't compromise with the Confederates in order to end the war when it wouldn't serve his (very moral) goal of changing the law. And, more importantly, the film shows us what's needed when democratic compromise breaks down. Adam Smith argued that slavery could be more easily ended under a "despotic" rather than "free government" when it was the "freedom of the free" that was "the cause of the great oppression of the slaves," that is, when "every law is made by their masters, who will never pass any thing prejudicial to themselves." [quoted in Liberalism: A Counter-History, p. 6, by Domenico Losurdo] Sure enough, it was extra-legal measures that vanquished slavery: a war and Lincoln's temporary dictatorship (e.g., his suspension of habeas corpus). For this, his critics called him a despot. They weren't entirely wrong, but he proved to be the kind of despot we needed. We haven't really had Abe the Dictator presented to us in the movies, for which I found the film -- whatever creative license Tony Kushner took with the script -- refreshingly honest.

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