Filtering by Tag: VIOLENCE

The House That Jack Built

I mean, is anybody a fan of Lars von Trier, really? I happen to be intrigued by him, because if you can say one thing about him is that he’s never boring. Or, at least, even when he’s boring, it’s because he’s doing something outrageous to death. Speaking of outrageous and death, LVT has a new flick out, and you don’t have to walk out of a theater at Cannes to see it. “The House That Jack Built” is available for streaming on Amazon. Convenient! Nothing like home delivered endless slaughter of women and others in scenarios in which the victim fairly makes the killer kill, I always say. The movie’s best kill, if you will, is the first one, when Matt Dillon, aka Jack, kills Uma Thurman, who plays a really annoying woman. Because this is LVT, you’re not sure if you’re supposed to laugh hysterically, feel grim, or just hold on for the duration of the ride. But, boy, can Uma take a jack to the head. In any case, you can look at the movie as a series of vignettes in which Jack murders people, or you can look at it as a meditative study on the creative process as told through the persona of someone who happens to use murder as his tool d’art. Frankly, the mutterings of Jack to a Virgil stand-in are the most interesting parts of the movie, particularly when Jack waxes philosophical about how matter dictates its form in art. Don’t search #thehousethatjackbuilt on Instagram, like I did, if you don’t want to have the penultimate shocker spoiled for you. It’s crude, but this is LVT, isn’t it? I won’t mention the part with the windshield wiper; I mean, that’s just ugly (or is it?). We have come to expect this sort of thing from the enfant terrible of Dogme 95. What I could never quite resolve with Jack is if LVT is trolling masculinity or wallowing in it. Toxic masculinity is a fair thing in which to flail. To attempt to redux The Inferno, the place to which the film devolves, is a mistake. Stay in your am-I-a-misogynist-or-not lane, LVT! Alighieri you ain’t.

Buy "The Tumor" — my short story that’s been called "a masterpiece of short fiction."

Tough Girls

Not long ago, I went to a strip club in the San Fernando Valley where porn stars and strippers were engaged in cage fighting. I expected it to be something like the WWE, but in reality it was a bit more like the UFC. I spoke to several of the fighters -- all women -- and it occurred to me that maybe fighting wasn't so different from stripping or performing in the adult business. It's about pushing yourself to extremes, taking your body to its limits, and enjoying the spectacle.

Buy a copy of my digital short story "The Tumor"! It's been called "a masterpiece."

The Return of Christy Mack

War Machine was convicted today in the trial of his assault of Christy Mack. 

Maybe you're old enough to remember the "Twinkie defense"? 

This guy offered up the "Raging Bull" defense:

"The defense attorney characterized Koppenhaver as a 'raging bull' with brain injuries from his fighting career and emotions inflamed by the use of steroids and non-prescription stimulant and antidepressant drugs that combined could have caused mood swings and violence that Leiderman termed 'roid rage.'"

What Happens When Your Father Is a Pornographer

The New York Times Magazine goes long on porn: "My Dad, the Pornographer."

Image via  ePub Bud

Image via ePub Bud

"My father often told me that if not for pornography, he’d have become a serial killer. On two occasions he described the same story: One night in college he resolved to kill a woman, any woman. He carried a butcher knife beneath his coat and stalked the campus, seeking a target. It rained all night, and the only person walking around was him. He went home, soaked, miserable and alone, regretting the action. He began drawing a comic about stalking a woman."

[NYT]

The Pornography of Violence

Imaginary Enemy  , The Used

Imaginary Enemy, The Used

"Today, films that promise spectacle, intensity, and, above all, whore-bashing are not the totality of the pornographic universe. But they are the primary thing that millions of heterosexual men flock to when they are alone at their computers (check out the popular titles at http://business.avn.com/charts/.) Author David Foster Wallace (2006) spent some time with Max Hardcore at the AVN Awards in 1998 and left convinced that the snuff film was the apotheosis of porn -- the 'horizon' towards which the industry was traveling (28). More recently, journalist Susannah Breslin (2009) left a movie set of director Jim Powers with a similar impression: 'The products that Jim produces are videotaped vivisections, studies in which homo sapiens lie upon the operating table, the director is the doctor, the camera is the scalpel, and the only question worth asking is, How far will we go if we are pushed to our limits?" Breslin suggests an answer in the ambiguous title of her essay: 'They Shoot Porn Stars, Don't They?'
There is good reason why critics entertain visions of lethal violence when they consider pornographers' commitment to the intense and extreme, to the hostile and aggressive. But there is less reason to believe we stand on the precipice of something else altogether new and more threatening than what came before. The apocalyptic visions of Breslin and Wallace are not unique in the twenty-first-century. For instance, pornography and pop culture in the 1980s left David Cronenberg with a vision as ominous as Breslin's and Wallace's: The sleazy pornographers of the fictional Videodrome (1983) promised to bring snuff to the hungry masses on their home televisions. And decades earlier -- well before the dawn of pornography's Golden Age -- George Bataille (1962) believed that murder was the essence and the end of pornography, that sex and death were ever fused in human minds and bodies. Bataille's work, like that of the Marquis de Sade before him, shows that sexual violence has long been a staple in the pornographic -- and the popular -- imaginary (Moore 1990).
What changes with time is the form our most violent desires take, how extensively they dominate our sexual imaginations, how we choose to express them, and, perhaps, how far we are willing to go in exploring and satisfying them. The power of violence to captivate a wide audience is far from new, but the warnings of pop culture's soothsayers should not go unheeded. We must consider what is born when we so readily fuse arousal with contempt, sex with fury." -- Violence and the Pornographic Imaginary: The Politics of Sex, Gender, and Aggression in Hardcore Pornography, Natalie Purcell