The Fall of the Anti-hero

After doing some reading to expand my previous article, I am remembering an article I read a while ago about how all television shows are becoming the same and generally fall into very specific categories for each generation and become the plight of that generation.  when I think about what we have to say about ourselves, it is that we don’t really want to grow up and we all think that we are all doing it wrong.  We, as a culture, feel so abandoned by the system, society, the media, and all the bigger forces in our lives, that we have lost faith in ourselves.  The anti hero didn’t used to fail.  The Man With No Name didn’t get his come upons at the end of the movie because that is how it is supposed to end.  We are the generation that can’t be told anything, has to figure it out the hard way, and we are just waiting for the other shoe to drop and end it all.

I just read about read the finale review for SOA, and the idealistic outlaw finally got put down for following his heart, but on his own terms.  Is there a more nihilistic concept than that?  That you don’t get a say in what happens, and you might as well start working towards your own destruction.  Don Draper is doomed, Dexter can’t have a family, though probably should have died,Walter White was put down, but still went down in a fantasy.

It has equally been said that there is no place for women on modern television because they only serve to burst the bubble and substitute for the establishment, holding them back from man’s outlaw nature.

The one exception to this is Weeds, that shows a woman all but abandon her family over the course of the show so that she can get in ridiculously over her head with unhealthy relationships in the criminal underworld  The entire show could be one large warning to getting involved with partners that are bad for you and only going to seek out their own interests, much like is the case with her well meaning brother in law that is in love with her from the very beginning.  Much like the men in her life, we the audience are suckered in year after year with the promise that the show initially held, only to be tricked by the vixen.

I was listening to Bill Mahr talk in his ill researched documentary religulous about how we need to realize that we are going to be around on this earth for a long time in order to realize that we need to plan for the future.  He is convinced that religion has convinced all the rest of us that because of the looming apocalypse that we don’t really care about the wars or environment because GOD and stuff.  I am not sure that I share such a view, but one thing that I do believe is that we all see our own deaths and we all see a new world of consequence in this country that seems all but obsessed with punishment.  We all seem to becoming more focused on futility of the individual and therefore we don’t really care if there is a world for anyone else.  We don’t believe that we can achieve.

I like to think that I have overcome some of the most challenging circumstances that a person can overcome. I don’t say that to mock others or to try and one up anyone, so please avoid trying to tell me about this one time…, but to say that I am still here.  I have faced death, mental illness, child abuse, and a slew of other problems, and I am still here, and all that I can think back to is that I could have done more and that all of those things are really nothing more than excuses as to why I didn’t do more with my life.

Funny enough, and I promise in good faith that I actually had started writing this well before I got the news, but there is a chance that I might actually be writing a TV series in the near future.  I am getting ready to do a pilot for a company that is looking to show it to a bunch of online service subscription sites (Netflix, Yahoo, Hulu, Amazon, etc..) and while I never really gave thought to it, mostly because I thought that funding two hours of product was hard enough without trying to fund 12, I am not going to pass on my opportunity.  I think that if there is one idea that I want to get across, it is the one where my grandmother rides roller coasters.  I used to love them.  When I was a kid I would ride them all the time.  It was the only real reason that I would go to the parks.  I remember one summer my cousin came up and had me try a new ride.  She promised me that I would like it.  I wasn’t so sure so she told me that if I got sick or didn’t like it she would pay me 10 bucks.  From that moment on I was committed to making myself sick, because I wanted that money more than I wanted to be happy, and so I was.  As I got older, all rides started to make me sick.  I would think that it was just one more trick that your body pulled on you on your way to the grave.  But my grandmother, 91, loves them.  Sometimes life is a mindset.

Weeds

Weeds is one of those shows that has a special place in my heart, at least for the first three seasons.  They were almost perfect and then things started to change.  I didn’t even pay that close of attention at first, and I could find things that I like here and there, but then it just got to a place where I was watching more because I had been watching for some time and had invested a lot of time in these characters and I wanted to know how they all ended up only to feel more cheated by knowing than if I had assumed.  Like so many great shows that ended “too soon” that we remember for their amazing openings, this show took that and beat all the life out of it, replacing a stellar supporting cast with guest stars, celebrity appearances, and people that aren’t any good.  There are so many actors that I wish they had been able to bring back for the final season to really wrap things up, but the show wasn’t about the group of people.  It was about Nancy, and that, if for no other reason makes me hate her.  It is as if the entire point of the show was that you were supposed to fall in love with a girl that is bad for you and doesn’t really care about you.  She gets rid of all of your friends and then just up and leaves you, long after you cared anything about the relationship.  Sure, you can think back to when it was amazing, because beginnings always are, but in retrospect it is mostly just a shame.

Frontier(s)

This is one of those films that I have a love/hate relationship with.  I absolutely love the new wave of underground French Horror films.  I would argue that the wave actually started with the Spanish film Them (2001), though it really started to take shape with the grossly overrated Inside (2004).  By that time you start to see many of the new tropes start to take shape, with homages to the home invasion films of the 70’s and creating a genre around them with the kind of gristly anticipation of Rami’s original Evil Dead.  One of the kind of weird tropes has been that of a pregnant female protagonist.  This film is not original in any of the devices that it uses, but it is one of the more prominent and popular films to come out of this film movement, probably because it is a hodgepodge of so many other famous and better films, and often tries to say so much that any meaning often gets lost to the audience.  One of the biggest reasons for this has to be the frantic editing pace that seems to be taken from a bad Michael Bay rip off.

One of the first things to note is just how much this film looks up to and tries to be The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1973).  Unlike many other home invasion movies, this film is not about people breaking into the victims home, but more about trespassers in a strange world.  Unlike TCSM, or the much lesser House of Wax remake, these victims have been invited to the property under the guise of it being an inn so that they can be exploited.  To fully understand that this inn acts as a new state, as the victims are literally fleeing the city and the state, which has become a fascist police state that has come down hard on muslims/those of Middle Eastern decent.  While I do kind of shutter at that stereotype, the film is rarely if ever subtle and painting in the widest strokes imaginable.  The allusion here is to refugees that have been invited to a new host country only to be further exploited.  Since they are already refugees in France, the real message is that France, and as the obtuse Nazi references strongly imply, all of Europe has exploited immigrants.

The normal trope of chastity and sinful behavior causing death have a new place here, with the Muslim characters refusing vice at the hands of the Nazi inn keepers, as this now references to cultural assimilation and giving up more traditional values, though it is hardly only the inn keepers that are assimilating them, as the female protagonist is already pregnant.  Also interesting here is that the female is French and it is the traditional male that has succumbed.  I can only speculate that the reason for this has to do with avoiding controversy if the roles were reversed and a traditional Muslim girl were impregnated by a sympathetic French man.  This is an attempt to show that there is some solidarity with citizens against the state that resides with minorities, thought the film’s ending rather roughly contradicts this message.  The woman, after having killed all of the Nazi’s that have conversely killed all of the Arabs that she was running with, she then quite solemnly turns herself back into French authorities, maybe to protect the child that she was contemplating aborting at the beginning of the film.  To me this could only mean that at some level she is both accepting her place in the fascist regime, though I can appreciate the argument that because she is going to be in prison that she is actually sacrificing her own freedom in order to honor her friends that have fallen.

As with many of these types of films, there is a heavy emphasis on what one has to do to survive, and that violence is actually the lowest common denominator of what makes society and civilization tick.  Non violence, while preferable to violence, is always going to not withstand those that choose to enact violence on the nonviolent, and that as much as we may try to remove ourselves from that message, we always have to harden ourselves for the potential of defending ourselves.  She literally escapes death through a puddle of pig shit and blood, arising free yet changed from the experience.  Her turning herself in is in a way admitting to herself that even though she survived, that there are more out there like the Nazi family and that she is incapable of protecting herself and her child indefinitely, and that she does in fact need the state’s violence to protect her, though submitting to those terms is also submitting to their selection of suppressing the immigrants, to which her child has a heritage.

Ultimately the film suffers from being too literal and confused, much like the editing style that does keep the audience from emersion in the film, though with some many contradicting ideas and possible meanings, you can say that you will not have a hard time at least getting in the mindset the film wants you to get in, even if you can’t agree on a concussion.  Then again, that sounds very French to me.

The Anorexic

I really haven’t given much of an update in a while as to what I’m up to.  My most recent project is a documentary that I was hired to do regarding the state of Maryland’s taking the child of a family because the child had anorexia and had complications resulting from the disorder.  The child had already been in treatment, prior to the state’s involvement.  Going into this, I knew that there were a lot of questions that would need to be asked, especially regarding why the state felt like they needed to take the child away, which can become a rather hairy subject when the person paying the bills is the person who is going to be under a great amount of scrutiny, hypothetically paying me thousands of dollars to make a two hour inditement of him being a bad parent, and yet he was steadfast in the truth that the government is overstepping their bounds and that other parents should be aware of what is going on, though his politics are a bit right of my own (proud centrist) I can definitely appreciate a parent that is upset and lashing out.

His reasoning is to give more red tape to the government before they are able to separate children from their parents with his case hopefully being heard by the supreme court in Maryland.  After a few interviews and background discussion with educators and people in the medical field, they have very mixed opinions, as they believe it to be already too difficult with so many children being abused at home or being neglected.  Some of the points I will be exploring is the way in which once the state takes custody of a child, the state then appoints a lawyer to represent the child to the state, when that lawyer does not take into account the wishes of the child.  The state giving out bonuses for children to be taken away from their homes to social workers.  Why the state has their doctor give the prognosis of children in question, even in cases that go beyond that doctor’s scope of practice, and more so that when other medical professionals regard that prognosis, that there are no repercussions?

I have to say that it is still too early to give my opinion.  There are many questions I want answered on both sides and totally understand why many people are so suspicious of his claims, and see how some could see the parent as bringing this situation on himself, but look forward to talking with the other side’s legal team soon and look forward to sharing my conclusions.

Ebola

This is not generally what this site is about.  I’m sorry if what I am about to say seems less credible, but I have someone close that works for the state health department here in Maryland, and yesterday they had a meeting concerning the Ebola crisis.  No media was allowed, and for what I’m going to assume was because any media understanding of how inept this is being handled.

The first and biggest thing that was covered were emails that were found by an independent researcher finding that the Ebola strain we are now facing is now airbourne.  This means that if people have it, then by their very breathing, they can be spreading it to everyone around them.  Generally when something this dangerous is that contagious, then quarentines start to run rampant, because a whole fuck load of people could die.  The reason that we know that is because of the nurse that was infected in Dallas, because she was wearing a surgical mask.  The current magic bullet theory is that what disrobing, she somehow digested some infected fluids.  Bullshit.

The next big thing is that Maryland has no money for protective suits for state workers.  So in a meeting designed to instruct the very people who would be the first responders.  Now imagine that you are one of these people, that is working in the medical field in a state where they are treating many of the stricken, and you find out that the CDC is not adequately giving out information (airbourne) to contain this virus, and that you will then be asked to be in a closed room to treat the infected without protective equipment, all but ensuring that you will also become infected.  That is like asking AIDS doctors to administer the cure with their dick without the use of a condom.

To further underlind the incompetency of the CDC, they actually issued a statement during the conference, to trained medical professionals no less, stating that the only people at risk of having Ebola were those that originated from West Africa or people who had traveled there.  This of course is a fantasy that went out the window the moment that people here started to become infected or that Dallas nurse boarded an airplane.  What makes it even more upsetting is that if these idiots actually believed their own nonsense, then why is air travel from the only place where you can get such a deadly communicable disease still allowed access into our country.

The CDC even went so far as to say that the reason that this is being allowed to spread is because of racism, because medical people have not been wanting to treat anyone from west Africa, even after being told by the CDC that only people from there were carriers, despite not having the ability to protect themselves in the process.  Again, another major Obama blunder that will end up killing lots of Americans and it is all because we are racists.

UnAmerican Football

A lot has been said this year about the NFL already, and very little of it has had anything to do with the game that is being played.  The first thing that is being talked about is Ray Rice.  I’m going to start there because we really do have to break this down piece by piece to understand just how much these recent dealings have affected our national way of life and understanding.

Ray, unfortunately, hit his then fiance in the elevator, striking her unconscious and then dragging her out of the elevator.  We knew this way back in February.  We saw some of the tape then.  I had seen the tape that everyone is so up in arms about then.  It was not some big secret.  Even if it was, Ray came out in his police statement and said that he struck a woman unconscious by his fists.  If I, as a nobody, can read that report online, then I’m sure that if you are a billionaire that stands to lose millions of dollars in endorsements based upon your player’s popularity, has somebody on the pay role whose sole job is investigating this sort of thing.  We all knew what he did way back then, but we didn’t have it shoved in our faces like in the current news cycle telling us how and what to think about it.

I want to be very clear in saying that I am not trying to defend what Ray Rice did.  I am an avid Steelers fan, and was never a fan of Rice’s.  On a side note, I should also probably point out that I am also not a Christian, and all the talk that Rice and former Safety/Guru Ray Lewis gave about football and God strikes me that these two men are wife beaters and murders, and how much religious piousness has lead these two to commit heinous acts despite all of their outward zealousness.  It stands to my reasoning that the more rigid and repressed your religious beliefs are, the more you are likely to act out when no one is looking.

Ray also does not deserve the hate that he is getting.  Working in investigation, I can tell you that the first time someone gets caught doing something wrong is very rarely the first time that they have ever done the infraction.  Though legally we can’t prove otherwise.  For all that any of us know from that tape, his wife was drunk, as was he, and spouting all sorts of vitriol towards him to which he responded without thinking.  That is not an excuse for his actions, but they are a description of them.  He was week, lacked self control and did something wrong.  I agree that the man should be punished.  If initially, he had been suspended for 8 games or the whole season, I would not have protested it in the slightest.

The reason that I am protesting this has to do with the mob mentality and the harm that this is doing towards victims of abuse.  Now, in terms of Ray Rice, his wife, who married him for what I imagine is for little more than money, is going to face the same fiscal cuts as Rice.  I think that she is a big girl, and capable of making her own decisions on the matter, and in turn, is being handsomely rewarded for her silence and support of Rice.  Hardly the face of abused women in this country, being paid millions for their silence.  Mark my word though, in ten or more years, when the man’s money has run dry, she will end up on talk shows talking about how scared she was for her life and how he forced her to support him.  I’m sure such details will be in support of her new book, for which she will make millions more.

The only reason that Ray Rice’s suspension was extended was because of the response from people, most of whom do not watch football.  Despite all of the negative press that all of this has gotten, the ratings for the NFL have stayed about the same.  They haven’t gone up or down.  The fans of the game don’t really care.  What this means is that with the NFL trying to expand past the primary audience of football fans and trying to incorporate a larger female audience that might contribute to those enormous SuperBowl ratings that we see every year.  That game is an event that has become larger than the sport it represents.  Since football is the largest sport in America, that game is all about this country, whether you watch the sport or not.  It is about watching the game, not who is playing.  I mean for most of us, our team will not be in the big game, but we watch because it is supposed to be the culmination of the two best teams in the league giving it their all for their chance at glory in the history books.  We love winners and closers.   Women play largely into the statistics of untapped potential supporters.

I also want to be clear here and state that I know that some of the most loyal football fans in the world are women, my wife being one of them.  I’m not going to belittle that demographic and suggest that there are not many of you that love the game and your team and know as much about the game if not more than I do.  What I will also say is that the women the NFL is courting right now is not like that.  These are the types of fans for which the New England Patriots, along with their color coordination and sexy quarterback schtick, have finessed them into the game.

This is entertainment that costs people in the real world.  For all of the big hits that we see, real people are being hurt, potentially ending their careers, abilities to support their families, or injuring them so completely that they have drastic health issues for the rest of their lives.  We have somehow made our peace with all of that, and so have the athletes for that matter, though an increasing number are finding themselves broke from overspending and not preparing for their careers to end when the eventually do.

The second aspect to this is the Adrien Peterson thing with his kid.  I have not seen the picture, nor do I care to.  Pictures rarely give an accurate portrayal of what they are showcasing.  I am also a firm believer that, for the most part, the state has no place in dictating how a parent raises their child.  For what I can tell, Peterson is actively trying to raise his kids.  I know that he has a bunch of them from a lot of stupid decisions that he should have learned from a lot sooner than he did, but he did have the will and resources to be a dad.  I’m going to dismiss the idea that he has a history of abuse because the first incident didn’t come out until the second did.  That mother was not worried about her child, she was worried about her pay check, or she would have gone to the cops a long time ago.

Now for the real question.  Does taking away Peterson’s ability to make money really help these kids.  I mean these mothers, who obviously were with him because he was rich and famous and got pregnant as a paycheck for life, are not thinking about the big picture.  They are going to rob him dry, and without him getting paid, the well will run out.  There will be no more money and I don’t see how that is in any way better for the children.

I have never been a fan of lynch mobs.  The more that you give in, the more that the demand from you.  Punishments are supposed to be balanced.  This conversation really isn’t about victims.  Social consciousness for this issue really hasn’t surpassed the idea that it is socially unacceptable and a hot button issue.  That is it.  People calling in talking about how they too have lost their temper and really yelled at their kids, as if emotional abuse was so much better.  We are marginalizing the issue and the intricacies of people and relationships.

Leaked

This really isn’t where I intended to start this blog.  I had a bunch of other ideas, but this just keeps showing up on my news feeds, as friends keep talking about it on both sides, even more so than the recent NFL scandals which I want to get to shortly.  Nude celebrities.  This has been a big deal in Hollywood for a long time.  There was a time that actresses simply did not do nudity, ever.  Women that did nudity, even in films that were not pornographic, were treated much like we treat pornographic actresses that try to cross over into mainstream films now.  I can honestly appreciate the notion of privacy.  I can also appreciate the things a person is willing to do when they are trying to pay the bills.  I also enjoy looking at women naked.  I’m not going to lie, and there is no better porn than celebrity porn.  As much as I will tell you that celebrities, and I do know and keep in contact with a few, are just normal people who just happen to be better spoken and have more money than the national average, I will also say that there is something special about them.  There is something sick and twisted in myself that feels almost validated by the fact that someone who is rich and famous would use me as her dirty little secret, even though in all honesty I can tell you that I think I am for all accounts a much better person than she will ever be.  I also dated a fairly successful, though hardly famous model for a long period during my youth, and I can tell you that besides the physical appearance, had many problems of her own, but not more so than a normal person.

I think that a part of this might have something to do with the fact that men compete for women.  It is part of the DNA of mating and bonding.  Women actually expect this.  It is as much cultural as it is biological.  The real difference between a girl that you lust after who happens to be an actress and the receptionist that works in your office is that not everyone knows your receptionist.  There are a limited number of people that will ever see her or appreciate her beauty or compete for her affections.  Everyone wants to bang Jennifer Lawrence.  Her entire career revolves around men finding her desirable.  You can argue that I don’t really know Jennifer Lawrence, and you would be right, but I can also argue that you probably don’t really know the cute girl from work very well.  Most of us will never attempt to go after the cute girl that we have a crush on because most crushes never go very far past the physical.  The truth is that a lot of people with desirable physical traits never bothered to develop themselves or their personalities.  I don’t mean to perpetuate the stigma of dumb blondes, but I’m a firm believer that stereotypes exist for a reason.  The point is, that most of us will never even try for our crushes.  It ruins our projections of what these embodiments of sex are actually like.  It reminds me of the Almadovar film Talk to Her, where a man who is a nurse falls in love with a woman in a coma whom he never met in a conscious state.

I remember there was an actress that I had the biggest crush on in high school, mostly because of her personality in a particular film.  I followed her career after, despite it not really going anywhere, and found that she was a person that I would probably hate in real life.  All of her life aspirations, interests, and political leanings were the exact opposite of mine.  That is a really big reason why so many of today’s stars say little about their actual real life.  To many of my friends, the most beautiful woman in the world is Scarlet Johansen, and what I have noticed more and more about her is that I know almost nothing about her.  I couldn’t tell you anything from her personal life outside of who she is fucking or dating.  I don’t know anything about her personality other than her laugh and that she is rather agreeable.  The secret to getting people to want to fuck you, is to take the you outside of yourself and let people create you into whatever is in their own imagination.  You can in fact please all the people all the time.

So what does this have to do with sex workers and people stealing naked pictures.  Well, unlike porn stars, we in society have an unspoken rule that if things are “leaked”, then it is not intended and therefore not porn and because we the male audience feel a bit guilty, we don’t judge them the way that we do girls who sell porn.  Starting with the whole Pamela Anderson tape, that was a really big deal and was able to sell for lots of money as well as to help elevate the status of a TV star.  Didn’t quite make her career beyond selling the tape, as she was already an established sex symbol and model.  When Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian released leaked tapes, they were not famous before the sex tapes, that also made a lot of money and created media empires for both women.

Now we have actual movie stars that are doing nudity, but not in movies.  Not too long ago, the idea of an R rated film making a lot of money was not a far fetched idea.  Actresses have long forgone the idea of doing love scenes and nudity in film.  We can act like it is artistic or whatever, but at the end of the day, we like viewing naked women in the viewing public.  Somewhere along the way, R rated movies stopped making money with so much of a movie’s business coming from overseas, and now there is no outlet to tease fans to get them to see a film.  So now we have leaked photos of the stars of these films baring it all, and rather than alienating the female audience, women support the actresses for going through a “sexual crime.”

I am also the father to a baby girl, and I would hate to have anyone steal personal photos to distribute online.  I cringe at the thought of boys sharing that around her school to ridicule her or a cunning ex posting such things in revenge porn.  This is none of that.  This is the very rich’s ploy to tell you that they are just like you in an attempt to get even more of your money while slut shaming sex workers under the guise of choice.  The discussion to me is what kind of society have we become that these managed celebrity entities can’t just pose for playboy anymore.  That as much as we sexually objectify them, that we can’t accept their sexuality or our own.

Feel free to tell me that you think that I am wrong or that I missed the point, but don’t forget to follow the money.  I’m not saying that they deserve this for being famous, I’m saying they are doing this to be more famous.  I remember that Kate Upton, the model that was also hit in the recent round of share the nudity, had some nude photos that were leaked a few years ago from a nude photo shoot where the actual nudity was hid behind her carefully placed obstructions.  J Law was nude almost every day for the X Men films in order for you to look at her tits, albeit behind a flimsy piece of plastic.  Lots of people standing around while she was exposed.  Plenty of publicity photos were leaked then as well.

I’m really interested in hearing some more takes on this.

Life of a non-Hollywood Director