Sunday, October 3, 2010
Still Waiting for That Race War
So it's been 30 days since the release of Machete, and though border violence has not abated, there seems to be no escalation in Mexican-on-American violence thanks to the movie. I saw it, and it's the usual zany, over-the-top Rodriguez fare. There's a political undertone, but it's hard to take seriously with lines like, "The bullet in his head was stopped by another bullet!". Anyone who takes Machete as a call to arms is seriously disturbed, and could just as easily be swayed by secret government messages in the Sunday comics or something.
I can recall many similar manufactured controversies. Years ago, Christians fretted that The Bridges of Madison County could give the green light for housewives to screw every traveling salesmen they met. Didn't happen. Then they worried that their kids might hook up with vagrant artists on cruise ships, because of Titanic. This probably did happen, but who cares? At least they didn't get tanked and fall off the damn boat like that one moron did on his honeymoon. More recently, there have been concerns that Avatar will usher in some kind of global eco-religion, though I really can't picture millions of people modeling themselves after Ferngully Smurfs.
In New Zealand, Reservoir Dogs came under heavy fire after a policeman was tortured and his house burned by a "Satanist". Turned out the guy did it himself, partly to get out of his marriage and partly for the insurance money.
The only movies that did seem to influence some already unbalanced people are Natural Born Killers and River's Edge (allegedly a favourite of the kids who murdered Elyse Pahler, though Slayer got the blame). Both of these films are heavily satirical, but not as zany as Machete. Hence, a few idiotic kids actually took them at face value. But we can't seriously argue that controversial films should be shelved to prevent a handful of dolts from being influenced by them. If we banned every film that could concievably encourage bad behaviour, we'd be left with very few. Maybe The Sound of Music, movies about talking animals, and some PG comedies would squeak by. That's not the kind of world I want to live in.
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