Re: Our threads are collapsing toward singularity.

1

Swanson, who's 26, earned two BFAs at Iowa State University

Two?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 9:45 AM
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That is deeply messed up.

I'm having difficulty understanding that as a feminist statement. It feels closer to "because I'm a feminist" to me, but I'd appreciate it if someone wanted to explain why that's interesting art.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 9:53 AM
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Marcotte had a go at it.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 9:57 AM
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Though I'm not sure that she convinces. A lot of "performance art" tends to leave me cold.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 9:58 AM
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I am in a cranky and uncharitable mood:
1) It would suck to be less pretty than the RealDoll model of you.
2) If you call something bizarre 'feminist', you can be assured that someone will defend you.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:01 AM
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Between Paris Hilton and this woman, a name change may be in order.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:03 AM
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re: 4

Yeah, a lot of conceptual art leaves me cold. An ex g/friend and I used to mess around with producing fake raison d'etre for these sorts of things. It's so incredibly easy to do that it sets the bar higher for the 'genuine' article.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:06 AM
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I don't have $12,000 to spend, but I was thinking about getting a Real Doll Head grafted on next to my own. I'm frugal, see.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:06 AM
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I'd like to get a Real Doll head as a hood ornament for my car.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:08 AM
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"Feminism?" toured colleges and film festivals and is now part of the collection at the Museum of Contemporary Photography

The Museum of Contemporary Photography is not such an august collection as the name implies. They do have a weird gift-shop system in which they commission photographers to produce a print in a large edition and then sell that piece for the arbitrary (but low) price of $300. In some cases, you can find a real deal. This Barbara Probst would look great in the kitchen, no?

I've seen another piece in which a woman was being penetrated from behind but now I can't remember where it was.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:08 AM
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I've seen another piece in which a woman was being penetrated from behind but now I can't remember where it was.

I think this happens quite often.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:09 AM
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4: I buy Marcotte's explanation, which I almost never do. So the project now seems weird but comprehensible to me.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:10 AM
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I'd like to get a Real Doll head as a hood ornament for my car.

And set it up so that when you get above 65 mph, it swivels around and looks at you.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:11 AM
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but now I can't remember where it was

On the pay-for-view at the hotel, probably.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:12 AM
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And set it up so that when you get above 65 mph, it swivels around and looks at you.

Owls are hott.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:15 AM
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Marcotte's really good as a responder and commentator in that thread; if you just read the post you miss that.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:15 AM
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I'd like to get a Real Doll that looks just like me and have it go sit in my place at faculty meetings all this week.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:17 AM
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5: Here (somewhat NSFW) she's cuter than her replicant; here she looks a lot like Teri Hatcher.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:21 AM
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Could I borrow it the following week?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:21 AM
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Could I borrow it the following week?

It has a power-saver feature where it goes into sleep-mode any time someone says, "But there are really two sides to this issue."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:25 AM
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I'll be happy forever if this thread turns into "Who's hotter, Amber or her Real Doll?"


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:28 AM
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I agree with Marcotte that this project is somewhat activist though I think that Marcotte gives Swanson too much credit for having working within the context of a clear, defined feminist ideology. Consider that in another piece she gives a man a handjob while reading someone's definition of feminism—arguably Swanson is just expressing dissatisfaction with various approaches and responses to feminism. She doesn't sound as if she cares much at all about the medium—she's really just documenting feminist/activist performances. It's kind of stunt-y sounding.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:30 AM
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I see another washlet ad in the link. They're everywhere. Their campaign is the awesomely craziest ever. Have I missede an Unfogged discussion of them?


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:32 AM
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The fact that they have a decent budget adds to the marvel.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:32 AM
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20: That won't be a problem during faculty meetings?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:33 AM
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I've seen another piece in which a woman was being penetrated from behind but now I can't remember where it was.

If my studies of this issue are correct, I'm pretty sure there are only two places to choose from.

Anyway, next time you should probably take a picture.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:33 AM
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. It's kind of stunt-y sounding.

That would seem to cut both ways. You have to have some understanding of an audience to successfully pull off a stunt. I'm not sure why it's important how closely she's hewing to well-defined feminist ideologies.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:34 AM
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That won't be a problem during faculty meetings?

She cocks her head as though she's listening thoughtfully to both sides, and murmurs periodically. It really extends the life of the battery.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:36 AM
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Teo should be this woman's assistant. He can lose his virginity for feminism.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:36 AM
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Real Dolls: really depressing! When people are faced with the choice between an inconvenient-but-real-reality and the imaginary/ideal, the imaginary/ideal tends to win every time. Eventually, we'll all be sitting in little horrible sci fi life-support pods plugged in to some version of Second Life where everyone looks more-or-less like a Real Doll and I will die of ennui. That is, if nothing else kills me first.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:37 AM
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21: No discussion is possible. She's clearly cuter than her RealDoll, in part because she's not a creepy dead silicon thing fresh off the bus from the Uncanny Valley.

I don't think she needs to be working from a "clearly defined" feminist theory, but it sounds to me like 'Smasher is right about stuntiness. Though the RealDoll project does look to be more interesting than (what I can discern of) her other stuff.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:37 AM
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27: Stunts, like one-liners, tend to have a short shelf-life.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:38 AM
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Shut up, hooker.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:40 AM
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Odd that she was in a sorority. Was that all part of her project as well?


Posted by: orangatan | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:40 AM
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You have to have some understanding of an audience to successfully pull off a stunt.

Which is why I think it fails. She wants to be an activist, and she wants to show something about the patriarchy and power as in Marcotte's explanation, and so she's going to do that by re-enacting famous rape scenes from cinema where she's both the predator and the victim.

I think this either ends up preaching to the choir or titillating, depending on the audience. Feels somewhat 'because i'm a feminist!' to me.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:42 AM
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32: So they pretty much follow the norm for the rest of life? Nobody seems to be claiming that she'll change the culture as we know it with her art project.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:43 AM
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I buy Marcotte's explanation, which I almost never do. So the project now seems weird but comprehensible to me.

Can you elaborate on this? I'm reading Marcotte's explanation now and not finding it convincing.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:47 AM
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You have to have some understanding of an audience to successfully pull off a stunt.

I thought recently of writing a bit o' clever about how, for this and related reasons, it is impossible to make a "statement".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:48 AM
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But then, I think about 99% of conceptual art is crap.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:48 AM
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I think this either ends up preaching to the choir or titillating, depending on the audience.

Maybe. I've not seen the show, and I'm reacting to Marcotte's explanation. So perhaps a better way to put it is to say that anything that draws a musing from Marcotte that I can find interesting probably has some value. I'm not too wedded to the idea that the project needs to be feminist or not, whatever the artist says.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:49 AM
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10: Maybe this?

About Amber-on-Amber: I dunno. Some of it is that this sort of art is so obviously looking for a button to push that I feel a certain amount of pushback; I just get irritated. Some of it is that it seems to be digging in a mined-out vein; David Gerrold (probably still best known for writing the classic Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles") wrote a time-travel book, The Man Who Folded Himself, in which he has sex with both same- and opposite-sex versions of himself, some thirty years or so ago. And some of it is that the various documentaries of Real Doll owners that already exist seem to be making the same points, only much better.


Posted by: Halloween Jack | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:50 AM
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Thoughts:

1. Of *course* a doll is always going to be "prettier" than a person. No inconvenient elasticity of expression, no hideous pores, no appalling irregularities of feature.

2. Isn't it just lovely that there are enough rape scenes in movies that she can do an entire video project about them? I've started refusing to watch movies with rape scenes in them.

3. The project doesn't have to be itself "feminist"; it's certainly "about feminism" inasmuch as it's about an awful lot of more or less mainstream aspects of "femininity", dealt with in a way that's creepy and disturbing to most people. The fact that she's a woman doing it, rather than a guy, really puts pressure on both the conventions and the creepy angle: is it creepier, or less creepy, for a woman to do this? Is it creepier, or less creepy, for women to make porn? Etc.

4. I think it's creepy, and she's a brave woman for being willing to do this to her psyche.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:52 AM
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David Gerrold (probably still best known for writing the classic Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles") wrote a time-travel book, The Man Who Folded Himself, in which he has sex with both same- and opposite-sex versions of himself, some thirty years or so ago. And some of it is that the various documentaries of Real Doll owners that already exist seem to be making the same points, only much better.

Except that those are all men.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:54 AM
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I think this either ends up preaching to the choir or titillating, depending on the audience.

Right. From a link upthread: "Half the people have a negative effect who watch it," Swanson says, "But it strengthens the team who are for it." Sure.

My objection based on not seeing her work is that she doesn't seem interested at all in media even though she is dealing with media directly (citing films, using video), and that ignores a fairly long established history of feminist art and also video art.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:54 AM
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I was mostly cranky in 5 but the picture headlining the article made the doll look as though the artist had ordered a commercially dealized version of herself and that was off-putting.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:55 AM
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I've started refusing to watch movies with rape scenes in them.

This reminds me of the classic Allison Bechdel strip about rules for going to the movies (which, upon googling, I see was linked in a pandagon post).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:56 AM
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Last night on HBO three women played with a male doll. They were brutal and contemptuous, and I felt sorry for the doll. I bet they treat their dildos more gently and affectionately, and the attached body brought out the latent aggression & cruelty. They did have a camera on them, and may have been responding to suggestions.

I aso this week watched Robert Downey doing therapy with himself in a mirror, under James Toback's direction. I watch all kinds of nightmarish shit.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:57 AM
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re: 42

2 makes no sense at all. What is it supposed to be conveying? You could say the same thing about just about anything. Murder, bank robberies, car thefts, wars, seductions, childbirths, scenes in which characters spontaneously break into song, etc.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 10:57 AM
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42:
Not to mention all those movies with Nazis. Our culture is truly sick.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:00 AM
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Of *course* a doll is always going to be "prettier" than a person

Say what?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:01 AM
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Last night on HBO three women played with a male doll. They were brutal and contemptuous, and I felt sorry for the doll. I bet they treat their dildos more gently and affectionately, and the attached body brought out the latent aggression & cruelty.

What utter bitches. Sometimes I can't believe what bitches those hoes think they are. I've heard that male dolls earn 70% on the dollar of what female dolls earn, too.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:01 AM
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Last night I watched an episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent and the beautiful woman strangled a man with his necktie but I think it was pretend.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:02 AM
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49: Right, because films about Nazis are always made so that the Nazis are really attractive and gratuitously irrelevant to the plot.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:03 AM
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I liked Cindy Sherman's work when it was by Cindy Sherman.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:04 AM
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Two comments from the pandagon thread which are partially convincing that the interesting part of the project is the creepy part.

Avid: As an art project, this is brilliant. As a psychology experiment, this is pretty interesting, as well. The idea of staging rape scenes of you dominating yourself must have been quite the head trip when the artist first came up with the idea. Did Amber feel empowered by performing the domination, or did she empathize with her non-real dopplgagger victim?
Amanda Marcotte: But in my wrongness, I think this art is making a statement about the pleasure of domination, a pleasure that is easier to see when indulged by the sex traditionally not allowed to have it. A look at people's dark side and a reminder that the task of undoing male domination will have to find a way to get past the many, many men who just plain enjoy it.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:05 AM
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re: 53

I don't think rape or rapists are often portrayed sympathetically, either. I can certainly think of a few movies that cross that line, and movies that feature 'sexual assault as titillation' so I am sympathetic to the complaint that it happens and is out of line, but it's nothing like the mainstream of how rape is portrayed.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:06 AM
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53: ?

The two rape scenes mentioned in the piece hardly fit that description. "The Accussed" is about as far away from it as is possible, I think.


Posted by: orangatan | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:07 AM
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And there's this.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:08 AM
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53: Maybe my film literacy is off, but I can't think of a movie where rape is presented in a positive light. Bad Lieutenant, maybe? If there is a cinematic tradition of gratuitous, attractive rape, I'll concede your point, but I'm drawing a blank.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:09 AM
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re: 59

Straw Dogs, maybe. And some 70s exploitation flicks, definitely. But it's hardly the standard mode of depiction.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:10 AM
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Attractive, I'm not coming up with. Forgivable and sympathetic, I think was the goal in the rape scene in She's Gotta Have It -- you were supposed to feel for the poor guy's frustration and emotional pain. But admittedly that's one movie, and twenty years old.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:11 AM
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I think I actually agree with crazy feminazi B here: in the same way that it's impossible to make an anti-war war movie (yes, I know you all disagree with this thesis), I think it's impossible to make an anti-rape rape scene*. They're both too visually stimulating/titillating. The image always wins.

*I've argued otherwise, about Irreversible in particular, but I'm not so sure anymore.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:12 AM
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I can't think of a movie where rape is presented in a positive light

"Positive light" is probably the wrong measuring stick. "Shot so as to be titillating to the audience" offers many, many examples.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:12 AM
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I think one of the Death Wish movies had a good one.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:14 AM
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62 gets it right. If there's a flushed, half-naked beautiful woman part of the lizard brain isn't going to care how she got naked or flushed.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:16 AM
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63: I watch a lot of movies, and I'm still coming up pretty blank. I'm not saying you're wrong, but can you throw out some examples?

Almost every scene I can think of is played for maximum discomfort factor.


Posted by: orangatan | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:16 AM
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In Basic Instinct, there's a scene with Michael Douglas as the woman who isn't Sharon Stone that is easily construable as rape, and is highly eroticized.

The Streetcar with Brando elides the rape scene altogether, but Brando is sure as shit not indicted for it.

I have this sense that in Fast Times at Ridgemont High a girl is saying 'no' throughout a sex scene. The girl that gets pregnant maybe?


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:16 AM
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I agree with 62 and 63. Rape is titillating unless the rapists are made extremely unattractive and completely unsexy.

I read a liberal college professor's review once which talked about how "A Clockwork Orange" sucked you in to the rape scenes and made you think about your complicity etc. The night I saw it, though, I was near 3 HS guys who were talking about how cool the rape scenes were. I believe that they also compared them to other cool rape scenes they'd seen. They were complicit but not thinking at all about their complicity.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:17 AM
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My ex worked on Irreversible. He told me at the time that it wasn't necessary for me to see it (even though the effects his team did were rilly cool!). Everything I've heard about it makes it sound like a truly unpleasant film.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:18 AM
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41: Didn't Adorno say somewhere that avante-garde culture/critical culture wouldn't do any good unless it was stabilized by material/political changes in society? That is, that when art races ahead of life, it loses its political effectiveness? Well, if Adorno (Teddy!) didn't, then I will. It's not exactly like The Man Who Folded In On Himself brought about a feminist utopia.

Of course, I'm not sure that this project will either, and I agree with Ogged that you can't make an anti-war war movie etc.(Ogged!)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:19 AM
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62: Well then it's also impossible to make an anti-serial killer serial killer movie, and anti-explosion explosion movie. In fact, it then becomes impossible to present anything striking in a negative light.

On further thought, though, I do see an exception: the horror genre. The whole basis of horror (or at least one subgenre thereof) is presenting titillating images of "bad things." But surely the sheer amount violence and torture presented in those films eclipses the occasional implicit rape, never mind that the sexism in many (esp. 80s) horror movies is way the fuck more direct than rape allusions.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:22 AM
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This made me do a lot of pondering about the effects of depicting rape and other violence in movies when I was about 10 or 12.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:22 AM
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I am sure that 62, 63 are right, and that this was B's original point, but I also wonder about th extent to which Amber's project gets trapped in the same problem of representation. Which I think was Cala's point, up higher.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:22 AM
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Shorter ogged: "Pulp Fiction: objectively pro-gangster rape."


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:24 AM
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71 I'm not sure I get it - because there is no much violence in horror flicks, rape(s) in them automatically look bad?


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:24 AM
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A war movie which showed long periods of boredom interspersed with occasional senseless violence would be anti-war, but boring.

Same way, a love story between two homely people surrounded by other homely people in a mediocre setting wouldn't be a romance movie or even a love story. It would end up being taken as a heartwarming affirmation of egalitarianism or something like that, and probably filed in the heartwarming section with the films about dogs and horses and brave little girls and so on.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:25 AM
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41: Didn't Adorno say somewhere that avante-garde culture/critical culture wouldn't do any good unless it was stabilized by material/political changes in society? That is, that when art races ahead of life, it loses its political effectiveness?

If you've got the material/political changes in society, what's the art for? (Possibly answer: something Wildean (Gombrichean?) about artists teaching us how to see.)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:28 AM
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In fact, it then becomes impossible to present anything striking in a negative light.

Right. I'm not sure why this is surprising, or even particularly controversial. You could make an anti-war movie, but to do it, you couldn't show any of the violence. If MASH worked, this is why. You could also probably make an anti-rape movie, but you couldn't show or describe the rape. But I'm guessing that people aren't going to pay to see two hours of a woman who is afraid to leave the house, doesn't want to wear her old clothes, cries a lot, etc.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:29 AM
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I just want a story about the mechanism by which high art is going to have a change on society, and not just contingently either.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:29 AM
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The notion that war movies can't be anti-war seems to rest on the assumption that arousal or stimulation are always positively valenced.

That's simply not the case. There are large physiological and psychological differences between the two poles. There's a reason there's no such thing as PTSD brought on by too many fun roller coaster rides or too much awesome sex.


Posted by: orangatan | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:30 AM
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But I'm guessing that people aren't going to pay to see two hours of a woman who is afraid to leave the house, doesn't want to wear her old clothes, cries a lot, etc.

Some people will—those who conceive of themselves as high-art appreciators, art film connoisseurs, politically aware, etc.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:31 AM
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The Accused is a film I've always liked because (1) the rape scene is actually *disturbing*. (2) the effect of the rape on the woman is *important* and seems *realistic*. The only other movie in which rape is done "right" is Man Bites Dog, where the rape scene is viscerally disgusting. I haven't seen Straw Dogs.

In contrast to movies where you get a woman who's raped and the camera lingers lovingly over her tits, or her rape(/murder) is merely a throwaway event to demonstrate the Heroism of the Hero (e.g. Braveheart, half a dozen Clint Eastwood movies, most cop shows, virtually all sexual thrillers); or there's a scene in which a woman's sexual resistance is overcome in a romantic/sexy way (Star Wars, Ratatouille, Gone With the Wind)*, or women are threatened and it's all exciting and shit (every horror movie ever made); or rape/sexual exploitation are "sexy" and "intellectual" (Secretary, half the oevre of David Lynch, Baise Moi, Black Snake Moan), or the focus is on the poor man who's innocently accused (the Fugitive), or it's a throwaway event used merely to prove that a Bad Character is Really Bad plus maybe you can work in a little t&a while you're at it (a lot of action films), or it's kinda hot and exciting and wow isn't the filmmaker a bold badass and damn, that woman's hot because she fights back (rowr!) instead of just lying there and taking it (Quentin Tarantino), etc. Do I really need to go on?

*"That's not rape!" Right, tell it to the Marines.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:31 AM
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81: Only if it's in French.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:32 AM
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A war movie which showed long periods of boredom interspersed with occasional senseless violence would be anti-war, but boring.

Some movies have been made like this. Like Godard's Les Carabiniers.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:33 AM
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I don't remember rape in The Fugitive, but it's been a long time since I've seen it.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:33 AM
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82: Deliverance.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:34 AM
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75: No, what I was saying was that I don't really buy that the mere presence of rape in most movies is necessarily a "positive" portrayal, but horror movies are the exception, in that rape generally functions as pure titillation.

I kind of understand where b's coming from, but I'm really uncomfortable with the idea that art,however poorly executed, should be constrained by political considerations, or that the inherently emotional charge that scenes of rape or murder carry should constitute endorsement thereof.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:35 AM
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I stopped reading Marcotte. I was trying to determine why I felt more comfortable with Twisty, and I think it is because Twisty thinks (I think) the Patriarchy is not something men do, but the Patriachy is what everybody does. Just as Capitalism is not sustained only by the rich, and the rich are not the enemy of Labour. Capital is the enemy of Labour.

I have a similar problem with Yglesias. I think he seeks a revolutionary goal (the End of All War) with a Reformist toolset and consciousness.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:36 AM
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should be constrained by political considerations

All B's said is that she doesn't watch movies with rape scenes, which isn't much constraining to any given filmmaker.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:39 AM
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There's a reason there's no such thing as PTSD brought on by too many fun roller coaster rides or too much awesome sex.

But you mean the real thing, not the cinematic depiction.

Off to swim. Try not to rape each while I'm gone.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:39 AM
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86: Yes. In which the victims are men.
85: You don't remember rape in the Fugitive. The *entire plot* of the movie is about the man's wife having been murdered, and you see the naked, vulnerable body.

87: The point isn't that Political Considerations should Constrain Art. Give me a break. The point is that women are human beings, not simply objects. Any Art that doesn't recognize that women are human is pretty crappy Art.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:39 AM
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89: What B's saying is that as a human being who happens to have tits, rape scenes tend to get in the way of my enjoying Art.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:41 AM
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Open Window was a decent movie, mostly about the aftereffects of a rape. Only decent.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:41 AM
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Does anyone watch the TV show Medium? Usually it's good but there was one episode (I think it was "A Priest, a Doctor and a Medium Walk into an Execution Chamber" from Season 1) that had a really extended rape scene that I just could not believe made it onto TV. It was a police officer raping a woman he pulled over in a car and it was shot in such an obviously titillating manner that I just couldn't believe it was aired.

(I think the episodes might be online but I don't really want to go looking for the scene while I'm at work.)


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:42 AM
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Any Art that doesn't recognize that women are human is pretty crappy Art.

Rape happens to humans.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:42 AM
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the Patriarchy is not something men do, but the Patriachy is what everybody does.

I found Marcotte's response interesting because I took her to be saying (or allowing to be said, really) something similar: sexual notions that are creepy in all manner of ways are fun for the dominator, irrespective of gender, because domination/predation/bullying is fun. I don't know if that makes it a tougher problem, though I suspect so.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:43 AM
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Re. the Fugitive: in fact, Harrison Ford discovers the murder after following a trail of rose petals up to the bed, which the murderer has put there in order to lure him--and the audience--into expecting sexual titillation. Blah blah champagne, blah blah sexy note, blah blah the wife's entire role up to that point is She's So Beautiful and Supportive, Isn't He Lucky OMG SHE'S DEAD THAT'S SO WRONG. His most valuable posession, taken away! Outrage!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:43 AM
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91: But isn't the point of The Fugitive to avenge that rape/murder? It's not incidental; in fact, it's the reason that instead of simply fleeing, he returns to the place where he's most likely to be caught.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:44 AM
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His most valuable posession, taken away!

Oh, shut up.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:45 AM
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95: Yes, that would be my point. In most movies, rape victims might as well be played by Real Dolls.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:45 AM
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I went to see Irreversible with a guy who, I didn't know at the time, was a rape victim. We left about five minutes into the rape scene because he was having a panic attack. Walking out of the theater, we saw everyone's faces were just horrible. People have told me that if we'd stayed, we would have seen how anti-rape and anti-violence the film "really" was, and I'm sure my opinion would have been different, so leaving was probably the worst thing for both of us. But I'd far prefer to never have seen it. Did someone think I really need to be terrified out of my wits every time I walk through an underpass? There is a kind of anti-rape sentiment that might as well be "And that's why you shouldn't leave the home, ladies."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:46 AM
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97: well, okay, I think that's an expansive definition of "rape-scene", but I get your point. It's been decades and I honestly didn't remember all those details--just that she was murdered.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:46 AM
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His most valuable posession, taken away! Outrage!

That's unfair. His most valuable possession is his career. Spouses are super-replaceable: high level/high income doctors remarry all of the time.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:48 AM
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91:Well I'd argue that art that doesn't recognize women as human is crappier than it could have been, but not necessarily crappy. There are plenty of good movies that have shitty female roles.

Anyway, have some comity: Man Bites Dog==awesome.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:48 AM
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90: "But you mean the real thing, not the cinematic depiction"

Why does that matter? The whole reason film (and other art) works is because humans can so easily be manipulated into vicariously experiencing emotions through events that aren't actually happening to them*.

That goes equally for positive and negatively valenced emotions/arousal.


* which really is extremely weird and cool when you stop to think about it.


Posted by: orangatan | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:49 AM
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It's been decades

Brock is commenting from the future.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:49 AM
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I'm not sure where I stand on any of this stuff. I think, probably, less rape scenes in movies would be a good thing.

But can't we all agree that dolls aren't prettier than humans? Dolls are creepy.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:50 AM
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But can't we all agree that dolls aren't prettier than humans?

The makers of FemSkin (NSFW!) hope that not everybody agrees.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:53 AM
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I won't be clicking on that link, so I can only assume: fuzzy petunia pig costumes, with giant plastic heads?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:57 AM
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Besides, the creepiest thing about Real Dolls is what you're required to do to this thing you purport to love: become Patrick Bateman.

Always remove the face slowly, working fingers between Velcro pads to separate and going from the outside in. When putting on a Face, some adjustments in alignment may be required. Eyes may need to be adjusted after seating the face into position. Tightening the jaw can be done with a Phillips-head screwdriver. By removing the back portion of the skullcap, the neck can be adjusted with an Allen wrench.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:57 AM
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I wished I hadn't clicked on 108.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:59 AM
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isn't the point of The Fugitive to avenge that rape/murder?

Uh huh. Just like the "point" of most rape scenes (and most women characters, actually) in movies is to motivate the male hero.

Which really, isn't the single most important thing about rape how men react to it?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:59 AM
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112: Well, for a movie it probably is. As ogged said, the box office potential for a movie about someone in absolute misery is probably pretty limited.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:01 PM
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isn't the single most important thing about rape how men react to it?

No. Location, location, location.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:01 PM
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113: You'd think that, but...


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:02 PM
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101: Exactly.

But can't we all agree that dolls aren't prettier than humans? Dolls are creepy.

Immobile prettiness *is* creepy. Think about what's happened to Victoria Beckham, who used to be cute, or any of the other expensively groomed women in that group that all looks exactly the same plasticine age, though they actually vary between 30 and 80.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:03 PM
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Which really, isn't the single most important thing about rape how men react to it?

Since the rape was staged, that's certainly what the one-armed man was thinking.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:04 PM
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115: Note "absolute." Didn't he only lose one leg?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:04 PM
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113: Right. And "absolute misery" is so uniform, so uninteresting, and so much the entirety of women's experience of rape.

Again, the Accused is a pretty good movie. So is Eve's Bayou. Really, women have a whole *range* of emotions to all *sorts* of things. It's amazing.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:05 PM
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117: Yes. The internal logic of most films that are even half-decent does tend to hold together. On the other hand, if the only thing one can do in discussing a movie is recap the plot, it's not terribly interesting.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:07 PM
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From Box Office Mojo (uncorrected):

Fugitive: $184 mil.
The Accused: $32 mil.
Eve's Bayou: $15 mil.

So it still looks like rape as motivator of vengeance is the way to go, financially. Further evidence: Thelma & Louise: $45 mil.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:12 PM
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120: Well, the plot of the movie is one, long, well-paced chase.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:15 PM
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So, to go back to my original question, having proven that there are worthwhile things to say in response to depictions of rape/sexual violence in movies and popular culture, do we think that the art project described in the article raises these issues in an interesting way?

I'm still on the fence on this one. Ultimately I don't think the article provides enough information to judge, but I can't get past the "creepy" reaction. I worry that if the ability to provoke the "creepy" reaction is what makes the project interesting that it may be worthwhile, but doesn't do anything to help the reputation of performance art.

Seriously, I think about the comments I quoted in 55 and, while I can see that, the description just seems too garish to prompt much reflection, but I don't trust that reaction in myself.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:16 PM
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I realize this is beside the point, but the murdered wife actually throws those rose petals down, in the planning of a seduction scene;the murderer/rapist doesn't do it. Regardless, the details is there to amp up the film's ability to traffic in an eroticized dead female body.

Let's not forget The Black Dahlia, which may or may not contain a rape scene, I don't know, but was marketed solely through an eroticized dead female body. Seven is also particularly bad in this respect.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:17 PM
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124: It's not about film and the acts aren't restricted to rape, but that Women in Refrigerators thing was pretty compelling.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:19 PM
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Did anyone see this year's The Night of the Sunflowers (La Noche de los Girasoles)? Extremely unpleasant, gratuitously titillating assault scene. The strange thing is that the movie (a Spanish thriller) did a really good job of evoking ominous menace and severe creepiness in its more mundane scenes. So it's not that the filmmaker couldn't do that.

Anyway, blargh.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:20 PM
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The Open Window, IMDB linked above, was an attempt to deal with the aftereffects of a rape on a couple, in a more subtle and sensitive way than usual. The boyfriend was frustrated not in his desire to seek revenge, but simply in his "need" to help. They became resentful of each other, distanced, and the rape victim was seemingly only able to get past it by radically changing her environment, which included him.

All this with very little conversation. Nobody talked. Was she partly to blame, or was it it that she didn't feel like supporting him in his hour of need? :) She is far from perfect, she doesn't report the rape, he has to push her into therapy. But it all unclear. Rorschach stuff.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:21 PM
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121: Yeah, the idea that women are people really isn't box office gold. So? Is this the "you can't blame moviemakers for perpetuating sexist bullshit" argument?

123: I think not being able to get past creepy is *good*. I think the point is that it *should* feel creepy. One should have to linger on that for a while before shifting right into shooting off one's mouth.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:22 PM
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I've always felt there was something admirable about Constable Harry "Snapper" Organs, who does, if I remember correctly, get his man.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:23 PM
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Immobile prettiness *is* creepy

This is fine; I just meant to say that if we are to define a set of prettiness that is not creepy, dolls do not fall into that set. And if that set is what we generally mean by pretty, then dolls aren't prettier than people. But maybe that set isn't what we generally mean by pretty.

I will now only write useless complicated things.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:25 PM
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Is this the "you can't blame moviemakers for perpetuating sexist bullshit" argument?

No, as against #113, just evidence that rape as motivator for vengeance is more profitable than rape as motivator for misery. Blame away.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:32 PM
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131: False and silly dichotomy.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:38 PM
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Isn't it yours from #112 and #119? Or at least one constructed by ogged or me and accepted by you in those comments?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:41 PM
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I didn't remember a rape in The Fugitive, though it's been a while since I've seen it. As I remember it, the wife is planning, like Sybil Vane says, a post-awards-party seduction, complete with cliched rose petals, and is murdered. (And of course, the Fugitive isn't a straightforward revenge piece, since the doctor is trying to exonerate himself.)

Still, the trope of hero-avenging-insult-to-wife-and-home gets old.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:44 PM
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124: "Seven is also particularly bad in this respect"

?

The only bodies we get a look at in that film are the fat guy and the emaciated guy not-quite-dead guy.

And just more generally, erotic is not a word that comes to my mind with that film at all.


Posted by: orangatan | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:45 PM
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Crap, I really need to utilize the preview button. I don't think I've had a grammatically correct post yet today.


Posted by: orangatan | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:47 PM
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In fact, I'm almost certain there couldn't be a rape. Easier to make a case about a one-armed man if there's actual DNA samples running around.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:48 PM
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124: I don't remember there being a rape depicted in The Black Dahlia (which was horrible, horrible, horrible), but there were endless reels of the murdered woman simpering, both frightened and seductive, to an invisible powerful male, as well as that stupid girl-on-girl porn clip in which she appears to be violated by an extremely painful-looking dildo. The look on her face at that moment was pretty horrific, and, apparently, quite titillating. Yeah, TBD got its dead girl and the retrospective painful sexual assault of her too.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:54 PM
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133 see 119, in which I reject the idea that a film about rape that treats women as actual people would necessarily be "pure misery".


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 12:56 PM
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138:"The look on her face at that moment was pretty horrific, and, apparently, quite titillating."

"Quite titillating" to fucking who? I was going to say that that scene was very nearly a rape, and pretty horrific to me. I also thought the interview footage was disturbing in the woman's desperation to please.

I am not turned on by rape scenes, never have been, don't understand those who are, and have gotten very tired of people trying to put me on the defensive about it.

Unless, like Twisty, you are willing to simply say:"Men hate women." and move away. Otherwise, the "rape scenes are titillating" just feels like manipulative crap.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:03 PM
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62 & 78 change my views of ogged.
hmm. i'll have to cut him more mental slack in the future.
61--the very movie that came to mind when b said she didn't watch movies w/ rapes any more. that's the last one i went to.

it really is inexcusable--we might as well say that lynching black people is an important and irreplaceable cinematic trope.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:03 PM
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I'm sort of with bob on this one: any depiction will likely titillate someone, but that doesn't mean it was intended to, or that it necessarily does. I mean, a pedophile might be titillated watching Sesame Street, but that doesn't mean we ought to rail against its depiction of children.

For example, the closing scene in Requiem for a Dream is horrifying because we've come to sympathize with Connelly's character. If someone finds it titillating, that speaks to the moral turpitude of their character, not to anything inherent in the film.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:09 PM
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133 see 119, in which I reject the idea that a film about rape that treats women as actual people would necessarily be "pure misery".

So call it "not pure vengeance" rather than "pure misery" and the point stands: not as profitable.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:09 PM
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140: I dunno. I think my boyfriend thought it was kinda hot, and he wasn't a total scumbag, just an average guy. I think this is the point that a lot of us keep trying to make here is that most of us are complicit to some degree in this kind of shit---casual violence against women. It's not just monsters and sex offenders who get a little turned on by pictures of dead girls, or we wouldn't have things like that photo spread from America's Next Top Model.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:12 PM
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Let me elaborate on 142: if you've missed the construction of Connelly's such that you can be excited by her humiliation, you're an idiot; if you haven't and can still be excited by her humiliation, you're not a good person.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:12 PM
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145: All I'm saying is that, regarding women, most people are not good people, and it's because we're trained by the media to be titillated by violence against women. I'm not saying it's not our fault, but that it just isn't true that it's a pure accident of a monstrous soul confronting rape-art that creates titillation.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:15 PM
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It's not just monsters and sex offenders who get a little turned on by pictures of dead girls,

I buy that, and I thought that was--from what Marcotte said--the point of the art project under discussion.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:16 PM
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143: Yeah, and women directors aren't as profitable, and women actors aren't as profitable, and character-driven films aren't as profitable, blah blah blah. None of this has anything to do with marketing, of course. And it's all Terribly Important and makes any argument about narrative content irrelevant.

140, 142: Both these comments strike me as intellectually dishonest. I believe that Bob doesn't find these scenes titillating, but surely he's aware that what he doesn't find titillating isn't necessarily representative of what men as a class find titillating. SEK's hypothetical about Sesame Street is merely silly.

The argument that most of these rape scenes are titillating rests, obviously, on whether the person making it is willing to admit that they find it so (including being able to differentiate between their conscious "how horrible!" reaction and their emotional/affective response to what they're seeing), and on whether they are able to reasonably assume that their affective response is more or less representative. Given the popularity of this kind of scene, and the fact that I didn't really twig to how prevalent and bothersome they are until I saw The Way of the Wolf (in which the gratuitousness of the naked, dead, raped woman in an early scene is so clumsily done that it suddenly became Really Obvious to me), I think my read on this stuff isn't completely insane.

Of course, the problem with such an argument is that now people are free to jump all over the "you only think that's racist because of your own racism" response, but presumably most of us aren't that stupid.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:18 PM
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In the context of the movie, that movie loop is shown to a roomful of male cops, none of whom I remember as titillated, I think horror and sadness was the prevailing sentiment in the room. I don't remember catcalls and wolf whistles.

The only one(s) titllated by Kirschner's suffering are the evil sickos.

And yeah, I didn't say so earlier, but the kind of veiled guilt trips Marcotte traffics in, the liberal reformist feminism, strike me as manipulative, simply an attempt at role-reversal, to shift the dominance roles. Dominance ends when you quit playing, not with a slight shift in the rules.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:21 PM
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146: ...but that it just isn't true that it's a pure accident of a monstrous soul confronting rape-art that creates titillation.

I understand, I just think conversations of these sort are flattened (as are the works they discuss) by the invocation of the least common denominator. Not that that's happened here; I'm thinking mostly about every conversation I've ever had about Lolita and Full Metal Jacket. I think it's possible to make an anti-war film, and I think Kubrick made a powerful one ... that some people are bound to misunderstand, just as they do most everything else in the world. Those people shouldn't be the arbiter of anything, much less what a work of art means and/or does.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:21 PM
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So, ethical judges of the Mineshaft, does it say something bad about me that I've just added two movies from this thread to my Netflix queue?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:24 PM
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141: If you were going to make a movie about the Klan, why the hell not include a lynching? Rape, torture, and lynching are ugly things. Excising them from the cinematic record is not liable to change that or reduce their frequency.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:24 PM
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but the kind of veiled guilt trips Marcotte traffics in

I'm pretty sympathetic to that description of Marcotte's writing, but I don't think it's a fair appraisal of the relevant post. As I previously mentioned, she seems to acknowledge that the problematic attitudes aren't masculine ones, but rather human ones. The male/female issue comes in because the particular situation we are in heavily skews towards men being able to be sexually abusive towards women rather than the other way around.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:25 PM
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I believe that Bob doesn't find these scenes titillating, but surely he's aware that what he doesn't find titillating isn't necessarily representative of what men as a class find titillating. SEK's hypothetical about Sesame Street is merely silly.

It's not silly, and you've sort of made my point in the previous sentence: pedophiles aren't representative of men as a class, and neither, insists the-last-shred-of-optimism-I-possess, do men titillated by rape scenes.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:26 PM
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151: Of course. Unless one of them is Man Bites Dog.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:27 PM
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To return to Irreversible briefly, every review I read said what a powerful anti-rape film it was. This I don't get. Surely it's possible to make a powerful film about the nuances of sexual intimacy, about how easy it is to go too far and hurt someone you care about, issues that really are morally difficult and about human failure. Irreversible is not that movie. What is it supposed to teach us? Not to torture and sodomize women for pleasure? If you went into Irreversible as someone who was thinking "Boy, tonight I think I'm gonna torture and sodomize a strange woman for my own pleasure!" I'm guessing watching the movie did not change your plans for the evening. Anti-rape films featuring lusciously shot rape scenes are simply not rhetorically interesting to me.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:27 PM
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the kind of veiled guilt trips Marcotte traffics in, the liberal reformist feminism, strike me as manipulative, simply an attempt at role-reversal, to shift the dominance roles.

Charming. Bob, I know you've got The Depression and all, but let's keep in mind the first rule of angry feminist discourse, which is It's Not All About You.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:28 PM
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154: Keep in mind that bitch is including Leia-in-chains in her definition of rape. I think most every male in America was titillated by that at one age or another.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:28 PM
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158: Yes, when I was eleven. But, you know, I grew up. Don't most people?


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:30 PM
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158: More than that, I'd say every woman in America was, too. There's a reason this imagery keeps getting circulated, and it's that we're all complicit in it. Lots of women are titillated by masochism, just as lots of men are titillated by sadism.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:30 PM
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SEK is making sense.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:30 PM
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pedophiles aren't representative of men as a class, and neither, insists the-last-shred-of-optimism-I-possess, do men titillated by rape scenes.

The prevalence of real and symbolic rape scenes in popular media is pretty strong evidence against you.

I'm going to quit this discussion now, because I'm beginning to think that it's going to head into the direction where I'm going to start making really bitchy sarcastic comments about how Of Course, Dear, We Know *You're* a Nice Guy and I don't feel like indulging that mood today.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:31 PM
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158: Actually, I was thinking of the scene where Leia says to Han that she doesn't like scoundrels, and he kisses her anyway, and she melts. Which, as AWB says, titillates both men and women. At least the ones who are willing to be both honest and rigorous about it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:33 PM
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What is it supposed to teach us? Not to torture and sodomize women for pleasure?

Other note: the idea that art is supposed to teach, obviously, is the operative reason for some of the cross-talk here. Not that anyone believes it -- we're all talking about incidental lessons -- but I could easily see a powerful film about rape and its aftermath being a powerful film about rape and its aftermath. Not designed to teach us anything we don't already know.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:33 PM
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just as lots of men are titillated by sadism.

Oh, I think we go in for masochism, too. That's why there are often "torture the hero" scenes in action flicks. Mostly, I think it's the violence, and any use of it that's stylized or fit into a genre is likely to come out as sadistic or masochistic.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:34 PM
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Back on the veldt, everybody wore chain-mail bikinis.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:36 PM
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164: It's fine with me if art doesn't claim to have a moral justification, but it was one constantly given for why I have to spend the rest of my life terrified of underpasses.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:36 PM
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156: To return to Irreversible briefly, every review I read said what a powerful anti-rape film it was. This I don't get.

The basic conceit of Irreversible is to show the B-movie "revenge" impulse, the rape itself, and more quotidian heteronormative sexual dynamics as being on a continuum of fucked-up male-female and male-male dynamics -- and not as far apart along that continuum as people like to think. It's this that makes it a powerful anti-rape narrative, apart from just the queasy and disturbing nature of the rape scene itself.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:38 PM
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The prevalence of real and symbolic rape scenes in popular media is pretty strong evidence against you.

Evidence that it titillates, or that rape is so common in our society that it's mirrored in popular culture? I realize I'm on the precipice of fifteen chicken-and-egg conundrums, but I think part of the reason Law & Order: SVU is popular is because its viewers like the idea that intelligent, hard-working people bust their asses tracking down rapists.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:39 PM
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164: I'm not saying art has to teach. I'm saying that treating most people as subhuman is revolting (and inimical to art, I suppose).


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:39 PM
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It's also the notion of rape existing along a continuum of sexual behaviours and urges that makes B's usual argument about rape-in-film seem apt in some cases, and oversimplistic or just plain wrongheaded in many others.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:40 PM
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"...whether they are able to reasonably assume that their affective response is more or less representative."

Yes, there is too much real and simulated dominance of women sold as eroticism. How widespread is it? There are days when I consider it universal, and days I believe every woman is a constant victim of the Patriarchy.

However, the scene(s) in Dahlia and Requiem seem to me to be vastly the most typical depictions of dominance/rape/violence against women on screen, and are not intended to be titillating, but the opposite.

I guess a difference is that I see the Patriarchy in high-heels & make-up & pundit columns about cleavage, and think that focusing on the most obvious and offensive manifestations of sexism is liberal meliorism and acquiesence. Like redistribution-for-itself, it will only prolong the Patriarchy and delay the revolution.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:41 PM
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I think a striking comparison is to compare male-on-male rapes as depicted in TV or the movies, versus the male-on-male rape in Todd Haynes' Poison. The rape in Poison is the only one that comes across as at-all eroticized in the way that male-on-female rapes are. (This may because in Poison the rape happens on film, which is evidence for Ogged's thesis.)

B, do you watch Buffy? If so, what did you think when Buffy had the exact same scene as the Fugitive? This isn't a gotcha question; I'm genuinely curious. (Personally, I forgot all about the scene in the Fugitive, but the same scene in Buffy bothered me.)


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:42 PM
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Evidence that it titillates, or that rape is so common in our society that it's mirrored in popular culture?

The former. Stranger rape is relatively rare, actually. What's far more common is date rape, sexual abuse, domestic violence--none of which are ever portrayed in popular culture.

Law & Order: SVU is popular is because its viewers like the idea that intelligent, hard-working people bust their asses tracking down rapists.

Precisely. Because feeling like intelligent hard-working people bust their asses tracking down (that kind of) rapist lets people continue to be titillated by fucked up shit, think that "real" rape is violent and happens in an alley, and rationalize away things like date rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence with arguments like "she should have been more careful/pedophiles should be Locked Up!/why doesn't she leave him?"


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:44 PM
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Fucking titillation. Apparently you can't put a strong image on film without inducing it. And if you put a weak one (Han kissing Leia), you're still doing it. I do not look forward to the days of Feminist-Realist cinema.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:46 PM
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I think a striking comparison is to compare male-on-male rapes as depicted in TV or the movies, versus the male-on-male rape in Todd Haynes' Poison. The rape in Poison is the only one that comes across as at-all eroticized in the way that male-on-female rapes are. (This may because in Poison the rape happens on film, which is evidence for Ogged's thesis.)

Good point. Are you implying that this has to do with Todd Haynes being gay, whereas in most cases the straight men directing movies see the rape of a man as entirely disgusting and degrading while the rape of a woman is somewhere on a continuum that includes eroticism? Whereas the truth is that the rape of a woman is also disgusting and degrading.

Makes sense to me.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:46 PM
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Power struggle is sexy. Tender, thoughtful, caring sex is boring. These things are true probably because the media makes them true, and we're kinda stuck with dealing with them. Some people manage to escape it to some degree, and bully for them. But the rest of us are stuck thinking about most of our sexual experiences in quasi-cinematic terms that translate struggle into hotness. I'm not excusing it, but it is something that I had to process, for a long time, and decide how much to accept it about myself as a woman and a feminist.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:49 PM
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170: It's not "rape on a continuum"; it's the ability to read things symbolically as well as literally. Kissing someone who doesn't want to be kissed is really a pretty awful thing to do, even though in movies it always ends up being oh-so-romantic.

173: I'm having a hard time remembering which Buffy scene you mean. More detail? (My answer is probably going to be that one of the things I always found interesting about Buffy is that it dealt with a lot of conventions which it tried to explore in a more rounded way than they usually are.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:49 PM
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Because feeling like intelligent hard-working people bust their asses tracking down (that kind of) rapist lets people continue to be titillated by fucked up shit, think that "real" rape is violent and happens in an alley, and rationalize away things like date rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence with arguments like "she should have been more careful/pedophiles should be Locked Up!/why doesn't she leave him?"

Point taken, although I wonder what the mechanism of that "lets" is.

Put another way, then, stranger rape titillates, and is thus depicted. This kind of sidles alongside what I said about the kind of people who could be titillated by Connelly's predicament in Requiem: they haven't formed the kind of sympathetic identification required for that scene to work. A husband raping his wife, because that hits so close to home, wouldn't titillate, then?


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:49 PM
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174: date rape, sexual abuse, domestic violence--none of which are ever portrayed in popular culture.

True enough, or almost so. Why do you suppose this is?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:49 PM
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date rape, sexual abuse, domestic violence--none of which are ever portrayed in popular culture

Excuse me?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:50 PM
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Law & Order: SVU is popular is because its viewers like the idea that intelligent, hard-working people bust their asses tracking down rapists.

Bullshit. Or rather, yeah, probably, but titillation is definitely at least as big component of that production.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:50 PM
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Are guys seriously claiming that rape scenes aren't titillating? Congrats, sainted ones. Look, in some limited but powerful ways, rape and murder are totally awesome. I'm willing to believe that there's some small percentage of guys who just don't have the part of their brain that says "Hell yeah!" to well-done depictions of those things, but it's definitely a small percentage. This is why I think it's a mistake to try to demonize the impulse, as opposed to emphasizing how wrong it is to act on it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:50 PM
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175: Yeah, we're all humorous and hate sex.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:52 PM
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This is why I think it's a mistake to try to demonize the impulse, as opposed to emphasizing how wrong it is to act on it.

Actually, this isn't really on-point so ignore it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:53 PM
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Or rather, yeah, probably, but titillation is definitely at least as big component of that production.

On SVU? I haven't watched it in a few years, but from what I remember, there wasn't much titillating on that show. The jerky camera movements turn everything into a struggle. The narrative tension was born of your knowledge that a woman was, in fact, raped by her date, but that her rapist was going to walk because she'd 1) agreed to go on a date with him, 2) wore something nice and 3) had a martini.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:53 PM
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It strikes me that no one really believes that local news shows do specials on teenage hookers during sweeps week because people like to see cops addressing a real and terrible problem.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:53 PM
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A husband raping his wife, because that hits so close to home, wouldn't titillate, then?

It did in A History of Violence. Lots of female movie reviewers liked it. (NOTE: I provide no citations for this, but I think I'm right, because I was surprised at how rape-like it was compared to how many reviews saw it)


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:53 PM
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I think there should be a distinction made between "allusive" rape and its actual occurrence. There was nothing fucking titillating about the end of Requiem. But there are a million instances of men sexually dominating women and both parties thinking it's teh hott.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:54 PM
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181: Where? In Lifetime Made-For-TV movies? In clumsy Feminist Realist Novels that no one ever reads?

183: I love Ogged. Except that I think that the "it's a mistake to demonize the impulse" is still kinda guy-centric: okay, maybe it makes you guys feel bad, but from the point of view of us chicks, it really *is* just fucking gross. I think we're going to have to leave the "yeah, I know this is hot, but here's the problem with it" explanations to you guys, if you're willing to step up to that plate.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:55 PM
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181 gets it right.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:56 PM
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Where? In Lifetime Made-For-TV movies?

Now you're just being ridiculous.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:57 PM
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Are guys seriously claiming that rape scenes aren't titillating? Congrats, sainted ones.

I'm not sainted, I just can't think of a scene in which a character I sympathized with was raped in which I was titillated. Hell, not even sympathized. I see the lizard-brain point: yes, all sex triggers a physiological response, but its the tension between that response and the context that separates art from brute-porn.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:57 PM
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186: There's a lot of pretty-cringing-girl shit going on with SVU. Long, gaspy, squealy, "And then he... touched me... down there! And it hurt and I said no!" business. And did you see the Shannyn Sossamon episode? She's all "My art teacher raped me" and squirming all over the place, and then the art teacher is like, "Aw, she wanted it cause she's a conniving bitch" and then, the episode ends with a "Now you decide who raped who!" thing, all arty and shit. Fucking ridiculous misogynistic crap.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:57 PM
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181: date rape, sexual abuse, domestic violence--none of which are ever portrayed in popular culture

Excuse me?

I've definitely noticed that portrayals of date rape, at least (which is more TV than film) goes out of it's way to structure date rapes as if they were stranger rapes, practically. A whole lot of time setting up the date rapist as this villain, usually by making him very much a jock in a specific kind of way - the football player in Heroes, for example - and the way the coercion and expressions of non-consent are structured are often really explicit in a way that seems calculated to avoid having to with any kind of issue of dubious consent.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:58 PM
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157:There will still be caviar after the socialist revolution, and there will most likely still be Playboys and simulated rape-scenes after the feminist revolution.

The enemies are not caviar or rape-scenes, but the social context in which those things exist, and the social relations which make them valuable or offensive.

What would be the meaning of a rape-scene in a world where women did not fear rape? Rape is a tool of the Patriarchy, just as luxury is a tool of Capitalism.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:58 PM
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Oops, posted 190 before seeing 185. Please read only the first sentence of my response to 183.

A husband raping his wife, because that hits so close to home, wouldn't titillate, then?

Not b/c it hits close to home, but b/c the cognitive dissonance would be too strong to ignore the "ick" factor, I think--as in the woman-with-twin-real-doll-sex-video thing.

189: Why should this distinction be made?

187 is extremely to-the-point.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 1:59 PM
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188: I can see being turned on by a lot of hot, violent, power-struggle sex, but that scene in A History of Violence was horrible for me to watch, not hot at all but really fucking scary.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:00 PM
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Seriously, B, if you think that date rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence aren't portrayed in the media, you aren't paying attention.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:01 PM
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199: B only watches PBS.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:01 PM
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There's a lot of pretty-cringing-girl shit going on with SVU.

I think this has more to do with my unfamiliarity with later seasons of SVU. I maybe watched the first two, back in a pre-9/11 world, so maybe I'm best-case-scenarioing the show.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:02 PM
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I'm not sainted, I just can't think of a scene in which a character I sympathized with was raped in which I was titillated.

That's why the distinction FM wants to make in 198 is so invidious. Because you can find a man kissing a woman who is resisting him titillating by saying to yourself, "oh, but that's not rape." And it's why lushly-filmed scenes of extremely violent atypical stranger rape are so fucking annoying--because your "oh my god, that's horrible!" conscious reaction can overcome your affective response (if you have one, which you may not, yay you) and let you think that you Disapprove of Rape when what you're really disapproving of is only gratuitous over-the-top sadism.

195: That would kind of be my point.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:02 PM
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201: Yeah, it's really bad, so much so that my mom and I (both of us victims of previous sexual assault) can't watch it without getting pretty freaked out and outrageously angry.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:03 PM
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173: The Buffy scene felt a little different because the cliched petal trope we knew was being done by evil Angelus. But it does turn into a revenge trope for Giles, though at that point in the series, Giles on a rampage is something that's still remarkable (and I still think that's the most emotional point of that season.)

A History of Violence had the scene start with a rape but end with very angry sex. Contrasting with their pedestrian cheerleader fantasy sex earlier.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:04 PM
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And I fucking hate SVU. Let's carefully talk about all the ways the pedophile got off on raping the eight-year-old so the audience can think about the pretty little girl. Christ.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:05 PM
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199: I said "popular culture" not "the media." And I meant things like popular movies, popular tv shows, and so on. If the top television shows and movies are about date rape, I'll eat my hat.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:06 PM
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183:No, they are not titillating to me. Nor are the aggressive-styles of porn titillating.

But I am aware that Miss May 1965 only wanted the money, is a little embarrassed and ashamed, not completely comfortable or willing. I am not sure if Jennifer Connelly or Mia Kirschner really really wanted to take their clothes off on-screen, or are just rationalizing their jobs as art or business. I don't know how much of JC's & MKs resistance is role-playing and defensive, in a "nice girls don't do this" kind of way.

I am sure that the Patriarchy, participated in such intellectualized and rationalized ways so that I can find excuses, turns me on.

Exploitation is what an owner in Capitalism does. Rape is what men in a Patriarchy do.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:07 PM
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Don't play, Apo! It's a trick! B doesn't wear hats because they make her head look too large.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:08 PM
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204 gets it exactly right.

203: Oh, that scene. I think it was different because we knew Jenny Calendar as a real person by that point: the godawfulness of that scene was really strong, as opposed to the scene in the Fugutive where it doesn't really have much of an emotional impact on the audience (as opposed to what it's supposed to have for the character).


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:09 PM
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House had an episode last season where the victim was date-raped, didn't want to talk about it, and wanted to keep the baby, and the doctor talked into talking about it and having an abortion.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:09 PM
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B, is you crazy? You can't pass a screen without getting some Lesson about date rape. Havoc was on cable the other night and hey, Bijou Philips gets date-raped, which reminded me that oh, Bijou Philips gets date-raped in Bully, too. How about Enough and domestic violence. American Beauty and sexual abuse? Seriously, I have a terrible memory, but I could go on and on.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:10 PM
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It's just like how everyone who watched America's Most Wanted only did so in the hope that they could maybe help catch the bad guys. They were thoroughly disgusted by what they saw but they put themselves through it every week because it was an important community service. There was an 800 number to call with tips.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:10 PM
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197: This distinction should be made because my bitch in 175 amounts to this: narrative requires conflict. You can generate conflict without rape, but you can't generate conflict without something bad happening, be it war, murder, or impoliteness. So if you eliminate rape from all narrative, why not eliminate murder etc..? So I see actual, non-titillating rape a la Requiem as a valid device. Allusive rape, however, tends to be pure titillation, and I'd almost agree with you about it.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:11 PM
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209: Plus, she wasn't killed just to make a point or to give everyone a revenge arc, but because she was the one who was solving the mystery.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:11 PM
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Manohla Dargis: There's something undeniably exciting about Tom's heroic actions, so much so that they effectively produce a veritable contact high, first spurring his son to stand up to a bully and, a while later, inspiring some intensely rough sex that will leave his wife covered in abrasions.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:11 PM
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206: There was an episode early on during Felicity in which the girl from Power Rangers was date-raped, actually, by a character who had previously been introduced, sufficiently and interestingly. It seemed very realistic to me; he was a nerdy schlub who had accidentally dyed all his clothes pink in the washer and was really into Tarkovsky. The rape was just the sort of thing that happened to a bunch of my friends in college. But then the way they dealt with the aftermath, they fucked it up. The girl totally freaks out, and it's insinuated that she is overreacting, and of course it turns out she had a previously existing psychosis about sex, and she has to leave college because she will never, ever recover. It went from being a realistic depiction of shit that happens when people are drunk and not careful to being your run-of-the-mill "Watch out because chicks are CRAZY!" infomercial.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:12 PM
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By the way, I'm not saying "ban these scenes." Just, let's not pretend they're not what they are.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:12 PM
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202:Note that you got me backwards.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:12 PM
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It went from being a realistic depiction of shit that happens when people are drunk and not careful to being your run-of-the-mill "Watch out because chicks are CRAZY!" infomercial.

Also, "Watch out, chicks, because you will go CRAZY if this happens to you!"


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:13 PM
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I'm honestly not trying to trick anyone by asserting that date rape and sexual abuse, ime, are topics for minor films (like Eve's Bayou, which was much more successful than most movies like that, in part because Kasi Lemmon was able to get Samuel L. Jackson to star), didactic Lifetime movies, and really crap made-for-tv movies about outrageous cases like the Jon Benet Ramsey thing.

I might well be wrong--Rocky's saying that date rape does happen though it's often made to look like stranger-rape (i.e., she dated a guy she didn't know very well, blah blah). And obviously I'm being pretty lose with what I'm calling "popular culture" in this instance. But I'm pretty sure that movies about date rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence are all so hung up on Telling This Awful Story that they suck, and therefore tend not to be terribly popular. (Thereby reinforcing the "oh, if you tell it from a woman's point of view it's boring" nonsense.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:14 PM
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All right, I'll concede that Date Rape is Bad has become a popular cliche.

American Beauty is a really interesting example, actually, because while it *is* about sexual abuse, I think it was largely seen and received as about mid-life-crisis and how awful it is (for men) to be unable to help being attracted to high school girls.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:17 PM
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oh, if you tell it from a woman's point of view it's boring" nonsense.

The claim (or at least my claim) isn't that it's boring, but that it's painful. We have had many, many people confess to being unable to watch people be embarrassed and humiliated on tv or film, so I don't think "too painful" is much of a stretch.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:17 PM
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But then, I think about 99% of conceptual art is crap.

Literally so, in some cases.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:18 PM
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But I'm pretty sure that movies about date rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence are all so hung up on Telling This Awful Story that they suck, and therefore tend not to be terribly popular.

What would you like movies and TV shows to do with the subject of date rape, B? They portray it, but they eroticize it. They portray it, but they make it look more earth-shattering than it is. They portray it, but they make it seem like it comes out of nowhere from a man who has turned into a monster. They portray it, but they make it seem like it's something the woman wants sometimes. By their very nature, movies don't portray anything realistically.

I would like to see more true-life stories in the media that are not sensationalized, so people have a better context for what to expect in their own life. That will happen when we get more nonprofit TV stations.

Fiction can continue to be sensationalized. People get what the lowest common denominator wants.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:20 PM
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you can't generate conflict without something bad happening, be it war, murder, or impoliteness.

Oh, of course. Narrative requires conflict! And conflict is always either violent (war, murder, rape) or minor and silly (impoliteness). It's impossible to do anything worth reading/watching that involves, say, unhappiness, or coming of age, or depression, or frustration, or ambition, or disappointment, or travel, or loss, or death, or any of those things. We must instead have lots and lots of slasher films and thrillers.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:21 PM
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Wait, American Beauty was about sexual abuse? It seemed to me more about how Being Closeted Seriously Fucks You Up And Makes You Fuck Up Everyone Around You. Though I am certianly biased on that account.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:22 PM
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Shit, I get tired of liberals. All's you're gonna get is a little sweeter-smelling Patriarchy, which may be all's you really want.

Twisty criticizes women at least as much as men, just as a socialist should focus on Labour & Liberals, not hedge-fund managers & solid-gold faucets.

That is what I meant about Marcotte. Focusing on the symptoms and expressions of the gender violence is like focusing on the battle between rich & not-rich. A distraction, counter-revolutionary. Patriarchal.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:22 PM
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It's impossible to do anything worth reading/watching that involves, say, unhappiness, or coming of age, or depression, or frustration, or ambition, or disappointment, or travel, or loss, or death, or any of those things.

We have those. They are usually "minor movies". Some of them portray real life accurately.

We must instead have lots and lots of slasher films and thrillers.

Those are "major movies". They appeal to the lowest common denominator and portray nothing accurately. They should be ignored.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:23 PM
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I really appreciated the pedophile scenes in You, Me, and Everyone We Know, with the guy with the signs in the window. That all seemed very realistic and beautifully handled.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:24 PM
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222: One might treat it as an episode in a larger coming of age narrative arc, or as a serious rupture between two people in a romantic relationship, or as an event that catalyzes a reassessment of one's expectations of men (and one's relationships with them), or any number of things that might actually be interesting.

Anyway. I'm going to go take a shower now, and any of you who even *think* about saying something suggestive about that are Bad People.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:24 PM
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I wonder if American Beauty was maybe "about" more than one thing?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:25 PM
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movies about date rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence are all so hung up on Telling This Awful Story that they suck, and therefore tend not to be terribly popular

Some time you should send me a postcard from your strange land, B. Case in point: Fast Times in Ridgemont High starts with a date rape. Also, domestic violence? Seriously? I could rattle off a dozen big box office movies that feature an abusive husband.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:28 PM
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I think B's point is that movies that depict things accurately and honestly are not generally among the most popular movies.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:29 PM
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Apo, I'm telling you, she does not have a hat.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:29 PM
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Fast Times is a movie about date rape? Really?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:30 PM
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213: Yeah, I know, but I did notice at the time that my various LGBT friends might have gone to see an entirely different movie. Some of my straight feminist friends made B's objection at the time, that it's about how frustrating it is for men not to be able to be attracted to high school girls (and thus it was objectionable), but I never had that reaction to those scenes at all, because if you compare that with all the scenes of Ricky's (gay) dad looking in at Lester during his "get pumped up" phase, it seems like they were deliberately set up to be compared with Lester's experience of perving as a straight guy. All those shots through two different sets of windows, with the bars obscuring things, and Ricky and Lester moving out of the frame, etc etc, compared with the infamous rose petal scenes.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:32 PM
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Come on, Fast Times is at least as much a movie about date rape as The Fugitive is.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:33 PM
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(Er, that 213 should have been 231.)


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:33 PM
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Move those goalposts a little further, B.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:33 PM
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I really appreciated the pedophile scenes in You, Me, and Everyone We Know, with the guy with the signs in the window.

That guy wasn't a pedophile, just a creepy asshole.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:34 PM
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237 pretty much supports my argument, I think. As does 240.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:35 PM
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240: The girls were like 14. It counts.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:35 PM
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You have an argument, B?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:36 PM
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My argument is that you should kiss my bottom, Ogged.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:36 PM
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Your argument was "date rape, sexual abuse, domestic violence--none of which are ever portrayed in popular culture". If you'd like to put forward a different one, you can do that, too.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:36 PM
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242: That's ephebophilia, not pedophilia.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:37 PM
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204: The Buffy scene felt a little different because the cliched petal trope we knew was being done by evil Angelus. But it does turn into a revenge trope for Giles, though at that point in the series, Giles on a rampage is something that's still remarkable (and I still think that's the most emotional point of that season.)

Jesus, I am a sick fuck. I thought the scene being referenced was "The Body," i.e. about seeing dead women obliquely from around a corner.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:38 PM
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Or perhaps the larger motion pictures have to have an "accessible" reading which reinforces what we might call Bad Ideas, but those readings are not the only readings.

What worries me when I take part in these conversations--and believe me, movies with Bad Ideas make me so angry that I want to die--what worries me is how I'm thinking of other viewers. Like, my assumption is that the Bad, accessible reading is the reading that everyone else--virtually everyone else, anyway--is going to take away from the movie. I'm a smart viewer, I usually think, but others will fall victim to bad ideology. But then, actually, I'm kind of a reductionist viewer, looking at things to spot the Bad Ideas. This gives me pause, and I get ever less sure what I expect any form of mass culture actually to do.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:38 PM
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My argument was that when rape is portrayed in popular culture, it's done for purposes of titillation or humor, and/or it's done in ways that let people maintain (im)plausible deniability.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:38 PM
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241:B is commenting from the shower? Having just drowned a cellphone, I want that laptop.

I thought suggestive thoughts, and maybe stimulated them in others, which makes me a bad person? No shit.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:38 PM
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My argument was that when rape is portrayed in popular culture, it's done for purposes of titillation or humor, and/or it's done in ways that let people maintain (im)plausible deniability.

I don't know about purposes, but that's the effect, sure. Everything else you've said has been pure insanity.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:39 PM
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225:It's impossible to do anything worth reading/watching that involves, say, unhappiness, or coming of age, or depression, or frustration, or ambition, or disappointment, or travel, or loss, or death, or any of those things.

Note that all of these examples involve bad things happening. (Well, maybe not travel, but if you have travel without conflict you get Rick Steve's Europe.) And you know very well I wasn't trying to pretend that these were not valid causes of conflict; I was trying to express a range (even impoliteness works:c.f. Diner de Cons). Narrative cleansed of "bad things" is pabulum.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:39 PM
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249 continued: But if you want to pretend it's an argument about individual trees rather than a forest, I can usually get sidetracked, unfortunately.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:39 PM
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Tim and I are going to buy you a hat.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:40 PM
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242 - ah, that's the word.

If a girl has the body of a woman, being sexually attracted to her is not abnormal. Isn't this true for boys as well?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:40 PM
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Yes, but is sex cleansed of "bad things" pabulum? That's a much more difficult, and I think relevant, question.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:41 PM
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Usage question: Is the phrase "plausible deniability" redundant? That is, could I just use "deniability" instead? I think I could in most situations.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:41 PM
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But then, actually, I'm kind of a reductionist viewer, looking at things to spot the Bad Ideas. This gives me pause, and I get ever less sure what I expect any form of mass culture actually to do.

Ah, liberals. Come the revolution, I'm totally finding mcmanus. At least he'll have thought to get guns and eight years worth of food.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:42 PM
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257: Not redundant, but usually misused.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:43 PM
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How should it be used? I mean, deniability is useless if it isn't plausible.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:46 PM
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258: So what does the radical expect mass culture to do, SCMT? I've wondered about this for years, and perhaps I've missed it up above in the thread.

I expect to die in the post-revolutionary purges of the useless and mopey, anyway. Everyone else will be dancing in the streets, and I and my ilk will be given a quick bullet in head in a pine wood somewhere. Worse, we'll be grateful, because a just and equal society does not need the mopey.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:46 PM
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Hey, Ogged?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:47 PM
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Like, my assumption is that the Bad, accessible reading is the reading that everyone else--virtually everyone else, anyway--is going to take away from the movie. I'm a smart viewer, I usually think, but others will fall victim to bad ideology.

I agree, but's more complicated than that actually. See, for instance, the response to another's hypothetical response to the racism in King Kong. The comment thread reveals not what people themselves believe, but what they believe Bad Readers believe, and how the film should be judged based on that.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:47 PM
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256: is sex cleansed of "bad things" pabulum?

Sex cleansed of any hint of the darker side of sex (dominance / submission dynamics, for instance, cf. complaining about Star Wars as an instance of using "rape" for titillation") is pabulum.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:48 PM
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Hey, Ogged?

Yes, L-Rock?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:49 PM
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256: Woody Allen says yes.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:49 PM
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Would you please make a swimming post?

266: He's a pedo, you know.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:50 PM
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263: Perhaps this didn't come across: I was criticizing myself for being a dumb, condescending view of movies, more worried about what the Theoretical Dumber Than Frowner viewer will think than anything else, while ignoring the progressive dumbing-down of the Frowner reading.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:51 PM
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What also tends to annoy me about B's schema -- though again I don't completely disagree with her -- is that it folds together very different things (portraying rape vs. portraying women successfully resisting rape, for instance) as particular cases of the same phenomenon. That's a hint that the criteria being used are way, way too broad.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:51 PM
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260: It's usually denying knowledge of something, right? I can deny having knowledge of Unsavory Political Deal X easily, just by denying it. But no one will believe me, Political Operative, unless I have a plausible reason for not knowing it. (I think the operative assumption here is that anything is deniable, that there's no minimum plausibility requirement or success condition tied to denying.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:53 PM
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264, 266: Agreed. But this also means that all good sex is probably emotionally and physically somewhat dangerous, or maintaining the appearance of danger or abuse, on some continuum. Which is why a lot of people opt out of it entirely, a la Twisty. For those of us with libidos AND a feminist conscience, the negotiations can be pretty difficult.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:54 PM
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Would you please make a swimming post?

What did I say about The Ogged and requests, L-Rock?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:54 PM
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268: I was criticizing myself for being a dumb, condescending view of movies, more worried about what the Theoretical Dumber Than Frowner viewer will think than anything else, while ignoring the progressive dumbing-down of the Frowner reading.

No, I think that came across. What I was saying -- and the reason I pointed to that discussion -- is that everyone makes the same spurious assumptions you indict yourself for here. I thought it'd cheer you up to see lots of smart disputing which of their Presumed Dumb Reader is the real Presumed Dumb Reader.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:55 PM
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273: Oh. Thanks. It does, actually, kind of.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:57 PM
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I meant to delete "smart" in 273, not "people."


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:57 PM
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269: What also tends to annoy me about B's schema -- though again I don't completely disagree with her -- is that it folds together very different things (portraying rape vs. portraying women successfully resisting rape, for instance) as particular cases of the same phenomenon. That's a hint that the criteria being used are way, way too broad.

Wait, in what way is portraying rape vs portraying women successfully resisting rape a meaningful difference? If we're talking about the way in which media portrayals of things are either reflective or challenging of particular frameworks of belief about rape, there isn't any meaningful distinction to be had between the two. Claire Bennet's resistance to date rape in Heroes isn't unrealistic just because she's a superhero with a MIB dad, but because the scenario is constructed in a way that really bears very little resemblence to what goes down in real life, and it's set up in a way that reinforces the same bad tropes that underly other fucked up portrayals of rape.

I'm really not seeing the criteriological problem, here.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:57 PM
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272: What did I say about The Ogged and requests, L-Rock?

Why must you obsess about your archives so, Ogged?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:58 PM
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270: Being able to deny implies success, does it not? And success, in this case, requires plausibility. So the addition of the term is redundant.

(This is way more interesting than the rest of this thread.)


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 2:59 PM
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Now that I think about it, ability does not imply success. But there is an interesting relationship there.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:01 PM
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LR: Claire Bennet's resistance to date rape in Heroes isn't unrealistic just because she's a superhero with a MIB dad, but because the scenario is constructed in a way that really bears very little resemblence to what goes down in real life, and it's set up in a way that reinforces the same bad tropes that underly other fucked up portrayals of rape.

But is realism necessarily what we want? I first understood what rape was from a comic book.* I think unrealistic portrayals can sometimes be more efficacious than realistic ones, which, with a nod to B., I'll call "the Buffy principle."

*All this vain self-linkage is because, unlike Ogged, my archives are to be found elsewhere. Still, I feel a little vain for doing it, and will stop if it annoys people.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:06 PM
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will stop if it annoys people

I won't. You fuckers can just suffer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:07 PM
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Wait, in what way is portraying rape vs portraying women successfully resisting rape a meaningful difference? If we're talking about the way in which media portrayals of things are either reflective or challenging of particular frameworks of belief about rape,

... which we are AFAICT, and which is a different question from whether said portrayals are naturalistic. So, for example, there's something qualitatively different about the scene in which a woman being overpowered by a man is played as romance (which, B is right, has been a standard cinematic trope for a long time), and a scene in which a woman's resistance to such treatment is itself romanticized (since we're talking about pop culture, let's take Milla Jovovich putting a gun to the Hero's head after an unwarnted kiss as an example). I think collapsing these things together as "the use of rape as titillation" is just plain lazy.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:15 PM
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280: But is realism necessarily what we want? I first understood what rape was from a comic book.* I think unrealistic portrayals can sometimes be more efficacious than realistic ones, which, with a nod to B., I'll call "the Buffy principle."

In this case, I have no real objections to Claire being allowed to get out of it because she's a superhero; but if they had to do that, it would have been nice if the date rapist hadn't been conveniently pre-villainized in a way that anyone with two braincells would have been able to read the "YOU GONNA GET RAPED" signs flashing when he showed interest in them, and if the effects on the girl who he actually did rape wasn't so casually hand-waved away and unexamined.

That whole arc bugged me because, apart from illustrating Mr. Bennet's ruthlessness (which didn't work so well for me), the only point of it seemed to be that Claire is Good and A Hero and Invincible, but heeey we get to watch her be scared and freaked out and vulnerable. So, yeah, titillation.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:20 PM
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283: I'm curious. What would the reaction have been to an arc that portrayed the date rapist as otherwise a nice guy, and made it central to Claire's character, and at no point showed her being scared, freaked out or vulnerable?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:26 PM
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Tender, thoughtful, caring sex is boring. These things are true probably because the media makes them true, and we're kinda stuck with dealing with them. Some people manage to escape it to some degree, and bully for them

To this, and to 271, I'd say we've escaped to a much higher degree, and that may be boring, or at least irrelevant. I'd endorse the idea of a continuum: the danger and titillation, and admissions to being bad people if the standards are inclusive enough are present to some degree, but pretty thoroughly sublimated.

It leaves us all with the problem of how to relate to one another, and how to account for the difference. Less susceptibility to media is an obvious formulation, but I have no idea why.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:27 PM
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281: yes! They must suffer! Yes!

I think I might not read this thread, but I will absolutely repeat "criteriological" (as seen in 276) over and over again in my head. You put the Neo in neologisms, LROC.

LR: "Do not try to find the word. That is impossible. You must simply realize the truth."
Unfogged: "The truth?"
LR: "There is no word."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:27 PM
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Goddamnit, I suck at words and I'm on record as acknowledging this.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:31 PM
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287: Actually, "criteriological" really is a pretty good word.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:35 PM
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252: Yes, I offered examples in keeping with the conventional "narrative requires conflict" argument.

That said, not all narrative cleansed of "bad things" is pablum, no.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:37 PM
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287: nonsense. You are a genius at words. Most people cast about for the correct word and often fail to find it. You simply create it out of thin air. It is a species of genius.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:38 PM
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Shakespearian, really.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:39 PM
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Or Bushian.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:40 PM
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It is a species of genius.

It's larger than that. It's a genus of genius.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:40 PM
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290: You wouldn't say if you'd ever seen me have a dysphasic meltdown where I progressively lose the ability to talk for a few hours, or curled up in my chair in pain with my hands clamped over my ears because someone barged in and started talking to me when I was coding or working with equations. I really am pretty horrible at verbal communications in a lot of ways.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:42 PM
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Everything else you've said has been pure insanity.

Do you care to actually back this up, or are you, as usual, merely trying to perpetuate the myth that you aren't essentially in agreement with what I'm saying in this thread?

the criteria being used are way, way too broad.

Newsflash: it's a blog comment thread and I've got about ten people who want to pick at different aspects of my argument.

Sex cleansed of any hint of the darker side of sex (dominance / submission dynamics, for instance, cf. complaining about Star Wars as an instance of using "rape" for titillation") is pabulum.

You really think so.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:43 PM
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292: he skimps a little on the "correct" part of "finding the correct word," methinks.

I am now trying and failing to puzzle out what latinate construction might mean "word genius": THANKS, LROC.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:44 PM
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Basically, I developed the neologism thing as a reflex, because where most people just get embarassed and annoyed by the "it's-on-the-tip-of-the-tongue" phenomenon when it happens to them, in my case it's entirely likely that if it lasts for more than a couple seconds, my brain will basically get stuck like that for a while and just completely melt down in terms of ability to process language.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:45 PM
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And by reflex, I meant "defense mechanism". Whee.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:46 PM
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297: While I think of myself as a reasonably verbal person, in conversation I end up replacing about one in ten nouns with "thing". People, including family members, whose names temporarily escape me are "Face". Coining words sounds comparatively dignified.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:48 PM
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295: it's a blog comment thread and I've got about ten people who want to pick at different aspects of my argument.

That's sort of a non-denial denial, innit.

You really think so.

Sure. (I mean, it's slight hyperbole, but surely Dr. "domestic violence is never portrayed in popular culture" will permit me a few liberties.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:48 PM
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Existing words are boring. "Criteriological" is the new hotness. I would hardly beat yourself up for having a novel solution to one of the most fundamental cognitive tasks there is. Embrace your rejection of Logonormativity!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:49 PM
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I resort to "thing" and "face" all the time, and by some bizarre process "thinger" has come to mean "the calling function" and "crap" is "the value returned by the function under discussion".


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:53 PM
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300.1: No, it really isn't, especially as you've admitted that you agree with what I'm saying in part. I occasionally get a little tired of being the whipping girl rather than having people who think I have a half-decent point try to themselves unpack some of the nuance they think I'm neglecting rather than jump on the "Oh, B., you're so crazy" train.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 3:55 PM
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303: I do think you have a half-decent point, but I'm having trouble expressing mu understanding of it. I tried, but apparently failed, in 189 and 213.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:00 PM
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I'll jump on your crazy train anytime, whipping girl.

I say that having no idea what the point you were attempting to make earlier was.

In any case, I think "knowing perfectly well your opinions, which you believe to be completely valid, are startling and/or uncomfortable for the people you're talking to" and "being tired of people jumping on you for those opinions" are, while hardly contradictory, one of those matched sets of understandings one must resign oneself to embracing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:01 PM
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Also, neologists rock, but saxonate neologists are truly hardcore.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:03 PM
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The criteria being used are way, way too broad.

That's sexist and insulting. "Female" isn't insulting, at least.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:06 PM
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I'm glad to know that I'm not the only person who can be hyper-verbal in some instances and practically non-verbal in others (particularly while coding, as mentioned in 294).

Thankfully for me intense coding usually takes place in 15-30 minute chunks (to reference the "liberal arts" thread).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:07 PM
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303: Hey, I'd like to develop my own independent critique of rape in cinema, don't get me wrong, but time management-wise Unfogged threads are much more suitable to plain old nit-picking.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:07 PM
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309: on the veldt, critiques of cinematic rape imagery served the same social purpose as grooming.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:11 PM
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42.1 is not quite right:

Of *course* a doll is always going to be "prettier" than a person. No inconvenient elasticity of expression, no hideous pores, no appalling irregularities of feature.

First of all, dolls have hideous pores. The skin pocks quite badly.

Secondly, the idea that dolls are perfectly human is actually what makes them terribly freaky -- or to use a term that you fuckers will understand, uncanny.

A friend is coming out with a movie on sex robots. Sadly, the producers wanted to sex it up, so she cut a whole segment that looked at the dolls alongside the uncanny valley, death, etc. But it will still be a terrific movie.

I heard about Amber from a friend in grad school with her. Good on her!

Back to rape and new words now.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:12 PM
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305.1: Sexist.
305.2: Eh, I don't think that my opinions ought to be all that startling for most of the assembled, and they don't seem to be for most of the women. And Ogged essentially agrees with me as well. Apparently so do DS and FM (although I did totally miss the ways that FM was agreeing). At SG, I expect outrage! OUTRAGE! and have not only resigned myself to it, but embraced it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:12 PM
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307: That's sexist and insulting.

You're right. The criteria involved are way too, ummm, widely-splayed.

305: I say that having no idea what the point you were attempting to make earlier was.

See 307.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:13 PM
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309: Bastard.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:15 PM
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B, since we have near-comity on the main point, you're going to have to admit to yourself that you like to stir shit, and you can't complain when the shit gets stirred.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:18 PM
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Ogged.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:20 PM
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312.1: yeeeaaahh huh huh huh.
312.2: I meant that generically, having totally failed to read this thread. It still totally, totally applies, though, I'm sure.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:20 PM
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315 to 315


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:23 PM
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Speaking of SG, B, you might find this comment (in response to this) amusing or infuriating, depending.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:36 PM
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264, 266: Agreed. But this also means that all good sex is probably emotionally and physically somewhat dangerous, or maintaining the appearance of danger or abuse, on some continuum.

Truly loving sex can be fantastic, really really good. Granted, love is quite dangerous, but not the violent type of dangerous.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:40 PM
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315: I sometimes like to stir shit, but in this case I wasn't shit-stirring; I was getting frustrated and insistent because y'all were so determined to quibble. See, e.g., 190.2 and 197.1.

When are you going to admit that you actually think I'm quite sensible more often than not, hmm?

319: Hilarious.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:46 PM
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(BTW, I just got a congratulatory email from my boss--apparently someone cancelled their subscription because they "no longer wanted to support Bitch PhD's writing." I have no idea what the rest of the site's like, but the folks who run the newswire are completely excellent folks with great senses of humor.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:51 PM
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When are you going to admit that you actually think I'm quite sensible more often than not, hmm?

When it's true, B, when it's true.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:53 PM
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323: In which case I shall go on stirring the shit, dear Ogged. I hate to disappoint.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:56 PM
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325

Sex cleansed of any hint of the darker side of sex (dominance / submission dynamics, for instance...is pablum

It seems very common today to see dominance/submission dynamics as the primal basis of passion. But what if the deepest emotional charge is from love and the vulnerability and openness involved with that? And what if our pop culture obsession with dominant/submissive dynamics is a way to get a cheap, quick buzz out of our fear of vulnerability without actually dealing with the thornier aspects of love and committment?

CHEESY I KNOW.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 4:57 PM
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324: In which case I shall go on stirring the shit, dear Ogged. I hate to disappoint.

Poor B, barefoot and pregnant, stirring the shit while ogged cavorts with lifeguards.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:00 PM
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D O M I N A N C E


(submission)


radiation fear


had it all formatted pretty. Inadequate HTML skills


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:01 PM
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Your point remains perfectly opaque, bob, not to worry.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:03 PM
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Poor nothing. I like being barefoot and hope I get knocked up this year.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:03 PM
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In retrospect, "chained to the stove" would have been a better descriptor than "pregnant."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:04 PM
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B, are you really trying to have another little PK?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:04 PM
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Nah, Brock, she just wants an abortion.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:05 PM
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Not trying. Just not trying to avoid it. Rest assured, you'll all be among the first to know and I'll be sure to let you know every time I throw up.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:06 PM
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Finally, somebody working to elevate the discourse.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:07 PM
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Shut your mouth, Tweety. I'm old enough that I actually fear having to decide what to do in the event of some horrific test result.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:07 PM
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336

Yikes, sorry. Here's hoping for more tow-headed angels to help fill your filthy house with rodents.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:09 PM
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Aww, you're so sweet.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:10 PM
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That's great, B. Best of luck. I'll ask an extraordinarily personal question out of simple curiosity that you can feel free to ignore if you'd like: is Mr. B the intended father? Or is there no real preference? I don't know how these things generally work. (Insofar as there is a "generally", which I suspect is not very far.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:13 PM
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339

PK II: the REVENGE! That would be cool.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:16 PM
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340

338 is awesome. It threads a neat path through breathtaking rudeness, on to kind-hearted interest, and ends up at wide-eyed prurience.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:18 PM
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Just wait until B gets to PK IV: the Quest for Peace.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:18 PM
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Babies are awesome. Everyone should have dozens.

Are you knocked-up yet, Cala?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:18 PM
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339: You're reading his mind. He has all sorts of plans to teach a sibling how to annoy people.

338: Yes, with Mr. B. I'm taking the pill this month, because the complications involved in getting knocked up by the boyfriend are something no one wants to even think about.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:18 PM
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But I'm guessing that people aren't going to pay to see two hours of a woman who is afraid to leave the house

Isn't this the plot of Repulsion?

On anti-war war movies: this has come up before on the blog and I'm curious if any one on the "can't make one" side has seen Paths of Glory. I know I've asked before, but repetition seems to be what a lot of these threads are about.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:18 PM
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343.2: well, no-one except Brock.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:19 PM
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346

340 cracks me up.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:20 PM
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347

346 was me.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:21 PM
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345: No one whose opinion matters on this particular question.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:22 PM
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My opinion doesn't matter to you, B? That hurts me.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:22 PM
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I am not knocked up yet. That is why God invented hormonal birth control.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:23 PM
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346 was also me.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:23 PM
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Geez are you trying to hurt the guy's feelings?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:23 PM
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352: subject pwned by object.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:24 PM
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Yes, I'm trying to crush Brock's soul by having a second child with my lawful husband.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:25 PM
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Babies are weighty and may be instrumental in the crushing of souls.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:30 PM
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Death From Above: Stork Patrol!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:31 PM
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I'm taking the pill this month

I thought it was a bad idea to get pregnant right after going off the pill. Or are you trying to go to PK IV in one shot?


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:32 PM
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Not trying. Just not trying to avoid it.

"Not trying" means what? "Not doing anything" or "doing things without any specific intention"?

B. is letting God decide. Among her random opinions is Catholicism.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:53 PM
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357: I don't think so. Your odds of getting pregnant may be lower your first month off, but I'm pretty sure there's no particular risk of anything bad happening.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:55 PM
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357: I thought the risk wasn't so much of multiples but that doctors don't like it if they can't date how far along you are if your periods aren't back on their usual schedule.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:56 PM
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Fuck doctors.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:56 PM
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Yeah, but dating by the last menstrual period is pretty low-accuracy anyway.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 5:57 PM
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The only problem I've ever heard is that you might not be able to get pregnant. Like if you really need for scheduling purposes to get pregnant in December you better not be taking the pill up through November. Of course, that's not an effect you should count on, though.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:03 PM
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Like if you really need for scheduling purposes to get pregnant in December you better not be taking the pill up through November.

Heh.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:07 PM
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Babies are weighty and may be instrumental in the crushing of souls.

Also, they have sharp teeth and move like feral cats.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:08 PM
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Your odds of getting pregnant may be lower your first month off

Almost non-existent, really. Especially if you've been on it for a long stretch.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:09 PM
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Besides, I think if you're trying to time a birth for scheduling purposes, you're better off doing it on the other end. Ladies: you should know that if you marry me, I'm liable to induce labor for astrological effect. (Who was it that had an 8/6 birthday? Cyrus?)


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:10 PM
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I'll admit that we scheduled Cassidy's C-section to coincide with particular moon and rising signs.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:12 PM
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Besides, I think if you're trying to time a birth for scheduling purposes, you're better off doing it on the other end.

You can't get pregnant at all that way.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:12 PM
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366: give it a few months, and my friends will have a baby that says you're wrong about the "nonexistent" part.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:12 PM
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I got knocked up my first month off.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:14 PM
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368: Dude. How do you have that conversation with the surgeon? Explicitly, or "Look, just do it between two and four. Don't ask."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:15 PM
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368: Cassidy had a C-section?? Jeesus, she's only--how old now? Who's the father??


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:17 PM
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372: I have a friend who works in pediatrics, and she says it's more common than not for people to schedule C-sections for times that are handy or favorable. People who probably wouldn't otherwise need C-sections, even. I have friends who've done it (although they had twins, which I guess gives them plausible deniability that it was just for convenience).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:19 PM
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Certainly if you're going to have a scheduled C-section, you may as well do your best to schedule it for a time that works for you. God knows very little else about the experience is likely to be done for your convenience.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:24 PM
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That completely weirds me out -- having abdominal surgery when not absolutely necessary. I suppose it doesn't do any harm other than to the woman making the decision but the thought process that leads to "I would rather have someone cut open my abdominal cavity than be uncertain as to when I'll go into labor."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:24 PM
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Dropped the last bit of the sentence there, it was going to be something like "confuses me completely."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:25 PM
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376: Yeah, but "I would rather have someone cut open my abdominal cavity than have my genitals explode" isn't so confusing, is it? It's not as if natural labor is a breeze, said the man to the mother of two.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:28 PM
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Totally with 376. I guess C-sections must be a lot less chancy a procedure these days than they used to be.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:28 PM
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378: If you look at morbidity stats, the exploding genitals come out as doing you significantly less damage. I think that's what people are thinking, but it's not well supported by research, and probably most people making the decision aren't doing it on the basis of personal experience with both options.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:31 PM
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My vague, uninformed recollection is that there's something about it being easier to get insurance to cover a C-section than a potentially complicated non-surgical delivery (what the heck do you call the traditional method, anyhow? Vaginal delivery? Normal delivery? Poppin' one out?).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:35 PM
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Vaginal.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:36 PM
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I have heard of insurance companies pushing for c-sections when there is a risk of complications. I can't see how they could possibly fail to pay for a vaginal delivery if that's what the doctor/patient chose, though.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:38 PM
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382: grody!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:43 PM
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Wait, so C-sections haven't become less dangerous but insurance companies are pushing for them anyway? What the fuck. Fucking fuck.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 6:50 PM
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385 comments in a thread (that was) about cinematic rape and nobody mentions Rashômon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950)?! Sigh. Alright, now I am going to watch the first sex scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High to see if it is a date rape or not. I had remembered it as fairly ambiguous, but sometimes my readings are too generous.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 7:01 PM
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She had an emergency C-section with Noah, who was underweight and whose heart rate kept crashing during labor. You can try a VBAC, but a good 50% or so of those end up having to go out the side door anyhow. It was Roberta's decision, of course, but it's the same one I'd make if the situation was transferable.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 7:05 PM
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Well, to expand 383, I'm not even sure it it means for an insurance company to "push" something, if it doesn't mean failing to pay for alternatives. It's not as if they're sending out representatives to give C-sections a hard sell. Maybe there's some policies that would actuall deny coverage if a woman with a high-risk pregnancy chose vaginal birth, but I really can't imagine that. So again, I'm not even sure what this "pressure" means. But I have indeed heard that it exists in some cases. (And in the insurance companies' defense, c-sections may very well be safer in some high-risk cases.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 7:06 PM
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388 to 385.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 7:07 PM
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I'd say making it harder to get coverage for one procedure over another constitutes a form of pressure, if in fact that's what's happening. Especially given that people who are in the midst of deciding about a C-Section often won't have the time to sort through layers of bureaucracy.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 7:13 PM
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I resort to "thing" and "face" all the time, and by some bizarre process "thinger" has come to mean "the calling function" and "crap" is "the value returned by the function under discussion".

struct thing* composite_thing(int things, struct thing* (*face)(void *), ...)
/* Initialize and crap out a thing built out of other things. `things' is the number of things to be put in crap, supplied by thinger, whose responsibility it is to pass exactly `things' things. `face' converts the things passed in into things. */


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 7:18 PM
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Okay you guys, newsflash: THERE IS NO DATE-RAPE in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Amy Heckerling, 1982)
First sex scene: Stacy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) sneaks out of her house and meets a guy in his early 20s who she's chatted up at work. He drives her (in his RX-7) to the bullpen at the Little League field, where they chat briefly, and then start making out. He starts undressing her, she starts undressing him, he (out of the shot) whips it out and sticks it in, and she gazes at the grafitti with a blissful expression on her face while Jackson Browne's "Somebody's Baby" plays non-diagetically.
Second sex scene: Stacy invites Mike (Robert Romanus) to her parents' house, where they immediately repair to the tiny cabana (look closely at the wall behind Mike's head for a VERY suggestive set of coconuts and a gourd in a novelty fishing net). He asks her to take off her clothes, she says "No, together", they disrobe, Jackson Browne kicks in again, she lies down on the couch, he starts fumbling around and she says something along the lines of "Wait - Mike" due to his ineptitude, and before you know it, pop goes the weasel and he leaves. The horror here is not date rape -- it's premature ejaculation! (In the next scene, Stacy and Linda (Phoebe Cates) are working at their job in a mall restaurant, slicing a gigantic roll of salami.)
Later, as you may remember, Stacy discovers that she is pregnant, Mike promises to drive her to the clinic for an abortion, but flakes out, and Stacy's brother Brad (Judge Reinhold) drives her instead.

Also, the double-ended-dildo scene in Requiem for a Dream (Darren Aronofsky, 2000) was one of the most ridiculous, gratuitous frivolities I've ever witnessed. It doesn't work as a scene, it undercuts the visceral disgust of the rest of the denoument, and it represents the dullest sort of fake transgressiveness. Aronofsky totally lost the plot with that one.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 7:33 PM
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387: Oh, man, I did not mean to get judgmental about a scheduled C with a medical reason, like a prior C, nor even really about purely elective Cs. Just being bemused.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 7:34 PM
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I didn't take it that way, LB. No worries.

Huh. I totally misremember the Jennifer Jason Leigh scene, then. My bad.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 7:37 PM
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Minneapolitan: apologist for rape.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 7:54 PM
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The Stacy/Mike scene in "Fast Times" played some role in scaring me off sex all through high school.

But what a great movie that was. Warm and open hearted. The book was good too.

Also, 325 was too cheesy.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 8:15 PM
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This thread made me 15 distinct kinds of happy (and I am totally up on my happiness cladeology).

Speaking as a card-carrying (literally, in fact) leatherman, 264 is bullshit. There's a lot of fun, for some people, to be had in mixing one's dominance games with sex, but sex is not pablum without dominance. Trust, vulnerability, and intimacy are extricable from dominance and status, and are plenty fun all on their own.


Posted by: Nbarnes | Link to this comment | 08-13-07 11:05 PM
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367 (Who was it that had an 8/6 birthday? Cyrus?)

Argh. Yes, that was me. I'm surprised people remember. I'd recommend avoiding my birthdate, though, and not just for the unpleasantness surrounding the whole "first use of nuclear weapons" thing. Although, who knows, that might be the cause, I don't know much about astrology. But when I read the threads along here about love and the many various kinds of happy relationships, I get jealous of the people who are not blocked from making substantive contributions to them by their deep-seated psychological issues. I don't think there's anything to astrology (I started writing "psychology" there, talk about a Freudian slip), but just in case there is, don't aim for my birthday.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:00 AM
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