Sunday, December 23, 2012

Media: The allure of Bash The Bitch

In 2006, Katie Couric was being attacked because she was going to be the anchor of The CBS Evening News -- going to be.  For months before she ever sat behind the anchor's desk, she was trashed.  We explained it was "Bash The Bitch."  Two years later, Third (everyone, not just us) offered:

Being opposed to Bash The Bitch does not require that anyone stop criticizing women or that they only criticize with the appropriate 'tone.'  It does require that when you see the angry mob gathering around one woman, you step back to reflect on what's going on?  You ask yourself whether or not the standard this one woman is being held to is a standard her male peers are also being held to?
If the answer is "no," then Bash The Bitch is being played.

And it's being played currently with director Kathryn Bigelow as the target.


Bigelow won the Academy Award for Best Director, the first woman to do so, and she and the film she directed (The Hurt Locker) received many vicious attacks.  But that was nothing compared to what's been thrown at her and her new film Zero Dark Thirty.

Bret Easton Ellis, bad writer, went after Bigelow from his Twitter account with sexist Tweets about her looks and then he wrote a piece (dubbed an "apology") for The Daily Beast where he tried to argue that, being a gay man, he should have been granted some sort of pass and where he referred to Bigelow's "balls."  Bigelow has strength, she doesn't have balls and to suggest she does is not only insulting, it's sexist.  Some apology.

But that was nothing compared to the storm sexist Glenn Greenwald intended to brew.  Greenwald's a right-winger (Libertarian) who's been adopted by a lot of radicals (Socialists who self-present as Democrats) over the last years.  They've been happy to overlook the fact that he was a Bully Boy Bush cheerleader who championed the illegal Iraq War. 

Illegal.  Remember that he championed an illegal war the next time you hear someone (falsely) refer to Greenwald's 'legal smarts.'  A lot of closet cases went after Bigelow and The Hurt Locker.  Some of them were veterans (a few were even  Iraq War veterans and not just people who pretend to be).  They insisted the movie wasn't real.  Amazing since an actual Iraq War veteran would sue in court claiming they had taken his story and put it up on screen.  They would trash the movie, these freaks, and trash Bigelow.  And they would insist it had nothing to do with gender.

Now they're back, in larger numbers, trashing her again.  Debra Sweet joined in for reasons that she needs to explain.  She called a protest of the film before she'd even seen it.

Zero Dark Thirty is a film, it is not a documentary.  It's a story about the CIA and about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.  Some whine that this isn't a true story, some whine that it glorifies torture.

Bigelow opens her film with a lengthy scene of brutal torture.  It's not an erotic scene.  It is horrifying.  But small brains can't process apparently and Greenwald and others have insisted this scene glorifies torture.  (Spencer Ackerman has argued to the contrary.)

So does it?

You're a grown up, see the film yourself and make up your own mind.  You shouldn't take our word for it and you certainly shouldn't take the word of people who organize protests against a film that they haven't even seen.

What's more interesting is that when three US Senators (Dianne Feinstein, Carl Levin and John McCain) attacked the film, people stayed silent or, like The New Yorker's Amy Davidson, they rushed in to agree it was a good thing -- government censorship was a good thing.

That's when you know Bash The Bitch has gotten way out of hand.

'Explaining' why he felt it was okay to attack Bigelow, Bret Easton Ellis wrote, "The Hurt Locker also felt like it was directed by a man.  Its testosterone level was palpable, whereas in Sofia Coppola's work you're aware of a much softer presence behind the camera."

Does he not get how sexist and insane that sounds?

You have to be 'educated' to make such stupid remarks.  Take Jodie Foster who is an airhead that's been fawned over by the press.  Never challenged, she sucked up the patriarchy and thinks it's cute when she tries to pass 'biology' off as destiny.  (We think it's cute that she still thinks most of America doesn't know she's a lesbian.  Or that she still talks about kissing Scott Baio in interviews -- while at the same time taking offense when asked about her personal life.  Can you get more closeted?)  Foster tries so hard to fit the 'educated' opinion of what a woman is that it's destroyed her directorial efforts, rendering them  huge disappointments that seem both strained and artificial.

Like Jodie, Bret sucked up an 'education' without thinking (only repeating) and it allows him to write sexist crap without even realizing it.

A woman can be anything in the world.  Sofia's a wonderful director.  She is not, however, the template for all womankind.  And Bigelow's film is not full of 'testosterone' unless you've treated your brain like veal and never let it out to wander in the real world.

Women can tell any kind of story any kind of way.  Women can be good, they can be evil.  (Despite Jodie Foster's ridiculous claim that there are no women serial killers.)

But Bret feels women can only be real women and authentic if they present a "softer presence."  That's sexism and it's exactly what's at play.

Glenn Greenwald feels he can trash the film for that very reason.  Debra Sweet feels she can organize a protest for that very reason.

Neither was offended enough by the opening scene of Casino Royal (where torture becomes erotic as a nude Daniel Craig receives it) to protest.  Neither's been offended by any of the many films glorifying torture in the last eight years to step forward and launch an attack.  But those films were directed by men.

When a woman directs a film, it's as if she becomes the straw that breaks their camel's back.

Along with Bigelow, this loser crowd has also trashed Kimberly Peirce for Stop-Loss.  Those attacks helped ensure that she would go nearly five years before she'd get another crack at directing a film.  She's incredibly talented (her first film was the classic Boys Don't Cry).  But she's a woman and she directed a film against war that wasn't enough against war for some big cry babies:  'Oh no, the guy wants to drop out of the war!  But then he decides to get on the bus and return!  Why, oh, why, can't the film say what we want it to! Even if it doesn't fit the character!'

It said more than any of its critics managed to and reached more people.  In its first week on DVD, it made $4.8 million in sales and rentals.  That was long before Channing Tatum was declared (weeks ago) The Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine.  In fact, this is the film that makes Channing a star and, most important to his fans, features lots of shirtless scenes, lots of scenes of him in briefs.  Which is why it continues to rent and sell on DVD and via streaming.

The whiners wanted Kimberly to make a film where she clobbered everyone over the head.  Instead, she made a film where a man wants out of the war but in the end, much to the viewers' regrets, goes back into it.  You have to be really stupid to not grasp how that impacts an audience.

But when women are the targets, a lot of men (and plenty of women) let their stupidity tumble out of their flies.

As Debra Sweet organized her protest against Kathryn, we had to wonder, "Even if Kathryn's film was the offense that Debra claims it is, so what?"

Because it is only a film.

Debra, gets that, right?

She gets that Kathryn has not ordered the torture or death of anyone, right?

She gets that the same can't be said of Barack Obama.

But Debra would rather protest a film than protest the White House?

Never deny the allure of Bash The Bitch.

It's far too ingrained for most people to shake.  They see the stones flying and instead of saying, "Okay, that's enough," they rush forward to grab their own rocks.  They want their shot at bloodying the woman everyone's going after.  In Salem, in the 1600s, they pretended it was about witch craft.  Today, they kid themselves that it's about a film. 

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