- BackType is the new evil
- why did no one warn me about Bruce laBruce
- male directors and movies with CSA
BackType – have you heard of this? If not, trust me when I tell you that they have heard of you. BackType, which the paranoid in me is certain is some offshoot of Google, tracks people’s comments across the internet and archives them by username and blog URL. The archive is devoid of context or conversation, instead it is simply a list of your comments in chronological order. BackType even encourages people to follow your comments daily with the promise of always being in touch. Creepy. Don’t know why it’s creepy?!? One word: cyberstalking.
I have a real life stalker and her episodes are often triggered by establishing a sense of intimacy with me in her head when exposed to information about me whether I am in the immediate vicinity or not. I also have a long history of women’s advocacy work which includes taking women to the police station to file TROs and get stalking orders. In my 3 years on the internet, I have also witnessed or been the target of behavior that in the real world would warrant a stalking order. While most stalkers are content to watch from afar, many are simply gearing up to something dangerous or physically/sexually/emotionally invasive and your best protection against them is a documented paper trail and knowledge of their activities. There is no paper trial with BackType, and much like the internet site that inadvertently hosted the taunting/suicide of an African American youth several months ago, I have no doubt that BackType will refuse to hand over records and potential allow the tamper of evidence to protect themselves. B/c they have the records and you, or your loved ones do not, who would know to even ask them?
If the cyberstalking angle doesn’t frighten you, then imagine one of your trolls subscribing to BackType and literally following you from blog to blog flaming you to their wee hearts content. While this is not dangerous like the examples above it does limit your freedom and can take a toll on your sense of safety and self-expression. A blogger did this to me for 3 weeks recently and I count her as one of the reasons I moved virtual house. I wracked my brain trying to figure out how she was tracking me . . . now I know.
Even if all of this sounds like paranoia to you, ask yourself one question: what is the purpose of archiving your comments all over the internet devoid of context and making them available to anyone who types in your name? Who is served by this?
The Gay Nazi Pornographer – Two of the mainstream video stores in my area have had ceiling to floor displays of the film Otto: Or Up with Dead People for about a month. The movie is supposed to be one of the first “gay zombie” films that is supposed to take a tongue and cheek look at social conventions and conformity. I love zombies and I love the idea of queer zombies. So I finally fell for it.
The film is awful. It is disjointed, gory, and contains one of the most ludicrous sex scenes imaginable (involving insertion into a hole eaten into the intestines of another zombie). While I was watching this inane farse unravel, no puns intended, I noticed these posters on the wall behind the zombie’s head, posters for “skin hookups.” The alarm bells were already going off in my head b/c of a certain “nazi aesthetic” in the film, a term coined to describe Leni Riefenstahl cinematic style from Triumph of the Will forward to her post-Nazi regime photos of Africans and even whales.
So I put the movie on pause looked up the director, Bruce LaBruce. Turns out he is famous for making sexually explicit films about Gay Skinheads and Nazis with titles like: Skin Gang, Skin Flick and No Skin Off My Ass. While LaBruce argues that he is not a racist, he did admit to both socializing with skinheads in the punk scene and being turned on by being beaten up by his racist skinhead ex-boyfriend for making fun of his racism. He also admitted that his entire fetishism of neo-nazi culture comes from that moment in which he was dominated by a racist skinhead who he got off on. Reviews, both pro and con, discuss his films in terms of extreme violence and the mix of violence and sex often in celebration of this nazi aestheticism he finds so darn erotic. At least one of his films includes the violent torture and rape of interracial couples for supposed racial transgression that according to reviewers had people walking out in disgust. Does it matter if the director says he is not a racist if aspects of racist culture turn him on and that is the material he mines for his films?
I really need to know how it is that places like Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, and yes, my local underground queer video store (local as in 5,000 miles away) could stock a “mainstream” film from a Nazi pornographer?!?!!!!!!
While LaBruce seems clear about the reality of racism and neo-nazi homophobia what about his viewers? Have the consumers of this shlock never heard of the history behind the pink triangle? Is their racism so deep that they do not realize how many GLBTQ people were experimented on and/or put to death in Nazi concentration camps? Do they not know how many people have been beaten and/or killed in neo-nazi inspired hate crimes?! One such death happened in California just last year and one of the assailants is still at large.
When I brought the movie back to the store, the manager at least gave me my money back, but how many people go into a mainstream video store see the zombie display, pay their money and then return the film as junk without ever getting to the part with the nazi posters or asking too closely who made this movie? How much money is LaBruce making off of mainstream video stores ignorance? Or worse, is there someone at your video store that knows exactly what his film history is based on?
CSA and Male Directors – lastly in “the world is sick” quickies, I am deeply concerned by the camera angles that male directors are using to film stories about child sexual abuse. I have not seen the Dakota Fanning film that made everyone nervous at Sundance, but I have just watched Towelhead (review to follow later). From what I have both seen and heard, both of these films linger a little too long on the assault of under age girls. In both cases, the scenes are far more graphic than they need to be in a world where we all can fill in the blanks all too readily; and, at least in the case of Towelhead, there is dialogue that lets you know the particulars of her initial assault in the film lest there be any confusion. I can’t help but believe this is because straight men are behind the camera. What does it mean that these controversial films can only get greenlighted with male directors? I don’t want to be essentialist, but it seems to me that a female gaze would be less concerned about capturing the particulars of sexual assault on screen, or slow glancing preteen bodies in camera shots that mirror a pedophiles’ gaze; they would be more concerned about producing images that reflected an important critique of sexual violence against young girls in our society. Instead of wanting to discuss CSA in a productive way or being fired up to do more advocacy work on the issue after watching this movie, I left Towelhead with this sick feeling about the cinematography in my stomach and wanting to question Hollywood as a vehicle for such stories. I worried about how many people would be buying this film to watch those shots of the main character multiple sexual encounters and fantasies and getting off on not only her abuse but also the ambivalence the film shows it.
All this writing about this stuff is creeping me out. The world is much sicker than I thought it was on Friday . . .
- movie still. P2. Dir. Franck Khalfoun 2007
- movie still. No Skin off My Ass. Dir. Bruce LaBruce,
- Movie poster. Skin Flick. Dir Bruce LaBruce.
- movie still. Towelhead. Dir Alan Ball, 2008