Big Smoke

’cause it’s hard to see from where I’m standin’

We the People

TAGS: None

While whiling away some time at the one remaining Blaggards in Midtown – after my favorite Fashion District dive succumbed to the incredible commercial rent speculation New York is currently experiencing – as I waited for the pro-Gaza protest to get under way in Times Square, I overheard a conversation, as one is wont to do in a bar, between three thickly-accented Brits about the nature of the Afghan Mujahideen.

One man who identified himself as a former soldier remarked that these men were particularly savage in their reprisals, referencing incidents wherein they actually crucified enemies and left them to die of exposure. He pointed out that in arming such people against the Soviets, Americans had created a monster.

His statements were of a bent that indicted America’s foreign policy, for which I was in agreement, but for a different reason: He argued in effect that we should not have armed what are obviously a savage, unreasoning people. I interjected that the veneer of civilization is thin indeed, and that our own actions are not so differentiated as he implied. He categorically disagreed with me on this issue, and stated that while we employed torture in order to gain information, they did so for sport, which was a fundamental and unbridgeable divide.

It was nearing my time to go don the Palestinian flag and march, so I did not continue the conversation but instead said my goodbyes and took my leave. However, this man’s remarks stayed on my mind. Forgetting, of course, the human piles and electrode-crucifixes that Abu Ghraib prison became infamous for under American authority, his stance that civilization was stronger and more insurmountable an edifice was a troubling one, for it meant not only that he believed these people could not be “saved,” with all the attendant implications therein, but also that western civilized folks would never fully embrace such “barbarism,” with all the attendant implications therein.

While walking to Times Square, I thought of two counter-examples. The first and most direct is that of Afghan society prior to the armament of the Mujahideen – from Soraya Tarzi to the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan, the politics were comparatively moderate as contrasted with what came after under the Taliban. Women in the cities were allowed to go to university and hold respectable public positions, and indeed wear more western fashions. The sorts of progresses America pushed for under the Karzai regime have pre-Taliban precedents.

The second and most telling counter-example is, of course, the single-generation Nazification and subsequent de-Nazification of Germany, an ostensibly “civilized” country where an entire culture was whipped into a fervor that saw the systematic deaths of millions by brutal means that would match or surpass medieval methods – with such activities as the skeet-shooting of Jewish babies, to say nothing of Mengele’s vivisectionists – and then, just as quickly, “cleansed” of such ill motives, where even referencing such a time in any but the most sober format is quickly censured if not outright censored.

If one can accept that a people can be “Nazified” or “de-Nazified” within a generation, then it logically follows that civilization’s hold on societal strictures is thin. If one cannot accept that a people can be “de-Nazified;” that the Germans (or indeed anybody else) had it in them to commit such acts all the time, and needed only the right catalyst – a view in line with Hannah Arendt’s treatise on the “banality of evil” – then civilization is merely a patina by which society collectively deludes itself.

That I was protesting against Israel’s excesses concerning the bombing and invasion of the Gaza strip – with its heavy civilian toll, especially concerning the deaths of well over a hundred children – and tacit American support of such actions, made this particular line of thinking quite pertinent. To listen to the Zionists on my Facebook feed, Israel’s right to such acts came down not only to the provocation of Hamas’ rocket attacks (forgetting the string of mutual provocations beforehand) but also that Israel was a functioning, western-style liberal democracy – in short, a civilized nation – whose motives were thus unassailable when viewed in comparison with its neighbors.

The protests and the international reaction are of course of mixed provenance – European protests, critics noted, were tinged with anti-Semitism (although conversely any American criticism is painted with the “anti-Semitism” brush even should it come from Jews) and indeed the state of Israel exists largely because western nations did not want a flood of Jewish refugees in their countries, not to mention the moral turpitude involved in granting a colonial possession against the wishes of its native population – but the underlying implication of Israel’s unchecked aggression is that civilization is not infallible, nor is it indisputable, should it even exist as a functioning concept at all.

Mixed Messages

TAGS: None

I found myself, yesterday, in a place that I, like any self-respecting New Yorker, tend to avoid like the plague: Times Square. I was there on a mission to capture the proceedings of an organization that rented an hour’s time on one of the giant glaring billboards in order to display something that wasn’t bright, garish, empty advertising. They were called See|Me, and they were going to display art.

This created a curious scene as New Yorkers came to loiter on the scene amidst the Disney characters, street performers, cops and ever-present hordes of camera-clutching tourists. This eclectic band also held cameras, but was comprised mostly of artists, and they were there to see their works displayed to the world – or a reasonable (or reasonably American) facsimile of such. Each would get their five seconds of fame, provided the dazzled tourists would care to look.

Comedically enough, it was the presence of the gathering of mean-mugging locals with their studied aloof mannerisms that attracted the attention of the tourists more than the works themselves. A tourist would approach someone with a camera pointed directly at the building-sized display and ask what they were doing. Taking pictures of the art. Oh, the tourist would reply, and walk on.

Prior to the event, a middle-aged woman with loose-fitting white tank-top came up to me and said, “you look like an artist. Are you here for the exhibit?” I was, silently wondering whether my studied aloofness was too studied, but she soldiered on and told me that one of her works had been approved for the exhibit, but then censored at the last second. She explained that such was because it depicted an oil painting she made of a woman in a see-through blouse.

I remarked that I found that funny, as the panel in which the art was to be displayed was currently busy presenting ten-story tall underwear models with obvious cameltoes doing acrobatic poses and looking longingly at the milling crowds below. Just a few blocks up was a hundred-foot pop singer whose latest album was being sold by her nudity, her arm draped across her chest, leaning against a headboard while lounging on satin sheets. Next to that was a lusty gaze from an airbrushed bimbo’s face promoting an ever-euphemistic gentleman’s club.

Even in Disneyfied, family-friendly Times Square, home to life-size Elmo and Buzz Lightyear, clearly sex, or at least the suggestion of it, is broadly accepted.

My newfound compatriot had, despite her rejection, decided to show up anyway. As she described, through her ill-disguised bitterness, she had to see just what on offer was deemed acceptable. During the proceedings, she was not disappointed: Indeed quite a lot of skin was bared, so long as the picture was cropped cleverly, or the model was twisted away from the camera, or any other means of suggestive trickery. We as a society appear to have been desensitized to the female form, and inured to female sexual suggestion, but yet display it as illicit in practice. We are a strange bunch.

One artist recently decided to hold a mirror to that particular neurosis by turning the tables on the subjects. Photographer Bek Anderson filled Rivington Design House on the Lower East Side with prints of nude male models two days ago. Not sexual, but very nude. It immediately drew ire from local prudes: “I guess the new people in the neighborhood are unaware of how many children live here.” Setting aside how tame this is compared to recent iterations of the Lower East Side, Anderson retorted, “There is nothing pornographic or offensive happening in that photo. It’s a portrait of a man. He is naked, but doing nothing indecent. We see naked women all the time in photos where they are highly sexualized and people don’t notice because they are desensitized.”

Indeed, now having been blasted by bouncing bosoms selling vacation destinations, jeans, music, airlines, soft drinks and candy – and that’s just one building – with little objection from the people below, I concede she may have a point. We have become accustomed to hypersexualized fantasy objects, but are inexplicably shocked by frank portrayal of real sexuality.

This barrier, among others, would not be broken down by the Times Square art exhibit, but then it would be asking too much for one hour’s worth of images to break down the perpetual onslaught of consumeristic vacuity before the masses, even if only symbolically. Indeed, five seconds for each particular piece of art was not enough to reflect upon it, and the artists down below were mostly (or merely) waiting for their piece to come up so that they might photograph it. Rather than stand against form, they became that form, their works made hollow, their messages muddled. Yet more grist for the mill of color and spectacle, no time for meaning or reflection.

Perhaps, then, it was for the best that the hapless woman’s piece be censored: At a stint of only five seconds, it would either be ignored or distilled into a flash of titillation, a conspicuous exercise in futility before an audience trained to react in only the most limited, pre-ordained ways. It probably works better as a story of controversy. Yet one more reason to avoid Times Square with a passion.

What’s In a Name?

TAGS: None

One of the New York Times’ favorite activities is to discover places that are already inhabited and then rename them; effectively planting a flag out in the wild hinterlands of, well, New York City – but a New York City outside the purview of the metropole, ie: Manhattan south of 96th Street. Like urban pioneers, they are masters of all they survey, and the natives best scatter when they come to claim the “scene.”

Such gallant explorers coined a near standardized sobriquet that has become something of a running joke: Starting with SoHo in 1973 – formerly the Printing District, the Cast Iron District and, colorfully, when it was a no-man’s-land of heroin junkies and hookers, Hell’s Hundred Acres – came a cavalcade through the 70s and 80s: TriBeCa, NoHo, NoMad, NoLIta, and DUMBO. With each discovery quickly came Historic District status, ironically under a newly-coined moniker.

These modern conquistadors didn’t stop there. It’s not Harlem, it’s SoHa. It’s not Mott Haven, it’s SoBro.

Pretty much every time a neighborhood is “discovered,” it’s painted with a new name, and if the whole district can’t be claimed, it’s subdivided. NoLITa, which stands for North of Little Italy, used to just be Little Italy. The East Village, Alphabet City and the Bowery were just part of the Lower East Side. TriBeCa, which stands for Triangle Below Canal, is a moniker invented by the same folks who coined SoHo, yet it was formerly Washington Market and part of the same industrial belt that now sports such names as Hudson Place and NoHo (North of Houston). Once the New York Times picks it up, it’s practically official: The neighborhood thus changes.

Renaming can be relatively benign, as in the case of Morningside Heights, which has gone through a series of names – Harlem Heights, Riverside Heights, Cathedral Heights, Bloomingdale – before settling on the current one. It can also reflect a natural confluence, such as with Museum Mile, Ladies’ Mile, and the Garment District, the former Radio Row, Meatpacking District and Tenderloin, and the ever-expanding Chinatown.

But it can also be aggressive; a means to redefine an area that’s perhaps not yet transitioned: Bushwick becomes “East Williamsburg,” Bedford-Stuyvesant – a neighborhood that’s been unified for well over a century and a half – suddenly gets Stuyvesant Heights split off again, the village of Manhattanville is resurrected after being West Harlem since the city incorporated. Likewise it can be a means of landowners to ensure little further development and protect their fiefdoms, as is the case in the coinage of “Prospect Lefferts Gardens” in 1968 and of “Hudson Heights” in 1993. Nobody knows if “South Village” is even a thing, but it’s a now historic district.

On come the real estate speculators, and fast on their heels come the gentrifiers and transplanted preservationists.

As a form of astroturfing, it doesn’t always stick: Nobody in their right mind is going to call the South Bronx “SoBro,” nor will Hell’s Kitchen (formerly known simply as The West Side) ever truly be called Clinton (but that hasn’t stopped preservationists from stepping in). Furthermore, god knows why anybody would call Ridgewood “Quooklyn.”  But to name a place is to assume a form of ownership over it, especially when the place is already named. Whether it’s to obfuscate, as in the minor fiasco of “BedWick,” or to assert one’s grandeur, as in the case of “Jefftown,” it can be seen as an intent to impose one’s will upon a situation.

Therein lies the colonial nature of the act: Instead of becoming a citizen of the current reality, one creates a new one in their own image. The residents of Little Italy stood to lose their popular, long-running San Gennaro festival because the coterminous residents of NoLIta thought it too disruptive. The residents of Mount Morris Park Historic District sought to end the drum circles the coterminous residents of Harlem had in Marcus Garvey Park. For residents of East Williamsburg, Stop and Frisk was a fresh outrage. For residents of Bushwick, it was a long-standing reality.

It’s clear that names have power. It should then go without saying that one should hold anyone who wishes to rename an already-named place with deep suspicion, for at best it’s a claim of ownership. At worst it’s cultural whitewashing.

Nobody Wants to Be a Saint

TAGS: None

There is a form of universal derision of the new in New York City when it comes to architecture: All form of contemporary construction, however necessary, is deemed ugly. I am not innocent in that regard. However, with endless criticism of postmodernist edifices comes the idea that aesthetics are the primary motivator of urbanity, especially when they are tied with movements to halt such development until, presumably, something better comes along.

This notion, like the musings of Ebenezer Howard, Le Corbusier and Lewis Mumford, is at heart anti-urban and therefore anti-human.

What this philosophy ultimately seeks to do is to weed what is inherently a chaotic state until it becomes a garden, one preferably in the form of an imagined and idealized past; one that speaks to a retrospective form of futurism: A once both a myth and a fantasy. It is what Jonathan Meade would call the illusory solace of stasis, and in New York City is a populist attempt to mimic the timelessness of the former imperial capitals London, Paris, Berlin and Moscow. In all those cities was the past worshiped, even when it was explicitly cast out.

The modern model of Paris was built by Baron Haussmann on cheap labor as ordered by an autocrat by the name of Napoleon, with architectural edifices stolen from Rome (which were stolen from Athens). It is modern in the sense that it has yet to change and likely never will. The city was frozen in amber, a museum city on a scale that Venice could only dream of. Immune to the needs of its citizens, it became a gilded fortress of the moneyed, exiling everybody else to far-flung suburban slums.

Moscow, that “Asiatic city hoping to be mistaken for a European one,” similarly bears the mark of an autocrat whose minions were bidden to create a timeless spectacle that looked nothing like western bourgeois decadence and ultimately looked exactly like western decadence, only larger. Stalin, like his great rival Hitler, sought to create a mythos for his capital and his people, buttressed by his built environment on slave labor, and like his peers in his conceit hoped to maintain that fantasy in perpetuity.

What Stalin had an eye for, however, was populist imagery. His not-Baroque Baroque Brutalism had much the humanist filigree that was and is inherently popular. He built apartment buildings as grotesquely large lumpen-palaces. His state buildings are nothing if not stately. They were built with the explicit task of impressing and suppressing a people, and are more or less effective at this task to this day. If urban planning and architecture can be said to have an influential effect on society, and they would not exist as disciplines if they didn’t, then the shadows of the circumstances in which they were built are long indeed.

So, too, is New York City enamored with the architecture and imagery of its own adopted past. If London had Classicist Christopher Wren, New York had the Beaux Arts firm of McKim, Mead and White. Where London embraced neo-Classical Imperial stylings and plumbed the Tudor edifices of its own medieval history, so too has New York readily accepted the Italianate Brownstones of its original landed aristocracy and the anachronistic futurism of Art Deco as forms which can neither be copied nor improved upon. To look at New York today is to see a New York that wishes dearly to return to the 1930s and 40s and remain there indefinitely; to live a dream of a future already past.

In maintaining this edifice, through historical preservation and zoning restrictions, New York suffers the same problem as London and Paris: It neglects the backlog of human demand that has since created a crisis and an untenable present. Like Moscow, the forms in which New York is enamored are enticing; indeed, I would prefer to live in an Art Deco structure than this post-modern monstrosity currently being constructed in Williamsburg, but I am aware that the aggregation of my sentiment would ensure that no longer will there be new New Yorkers.

Moscow represents a regime that longed for stasis, copying as it did Paris, which represents a regime that longed for stasis, copying as it did Rome, which half exists as a living archaeological survey. If New York is to represent more than the graveyard of yet another empire, then it must revert to its democratic and humanist ideal, which is to destroy as many monuments as it erects. The supposed great scandal of New York was the demolition of the old Beaux Arts masterpiece Penn Station; I contend that it represents New York’s greatest strength.

To wish heartily for the preservation in perpetuity of the city’s past, no matter how beautiful it may be, is to ignore the cries of its present. It is a tyranny of the dead, and speaks of a longing for death, for only in death can the chaos of humanity truly be quelled. It is the conceit of despots to believe that their ideals should last forever, that nobody can improve upon their work and indeed that nobody should try. It is their grandest work to deny the humanity of generations to come. Preservationists dream of being such despots, for while they laud saints, they know that to actually be a saint is to live miserably and die ignobly. They prefer the fantasy over the humanity.

Napoleon wanted a true imperial city and so created a monument against humanity. Stalin wanted a true communist city and ended up – as with his regime – with a looking-glass version of an imperial city. If New York is to be a true democratic city, then it should endeavor to live up to such notions, which means accepting that democracy is profane and often-times ugly.

Subway Maps

TAGS: None

There was a recent article on the Gothamist as to the difficulty neophytes have with the unique nomenclature of the New York Subway, in that in most American cities where lines are color-coded, they refer to the line by its color. The Chicago L, the Boston T, the DC Metro – all of them refer to their lines by their colors. New Yorkers don’t, despite the fact that the system is color-coded.

New York is indeed unique in that regard, but why? Well, for starters, New York indeed tried many styles and color schemes on its own before settling on the current one. How to adequately explain the system is a question posed by many mapmakers over the years. Most of the historic maps color-code by original company – the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, the Brooklyn Manhattan Transit Corporation, and the Independent Subway System – so as to highlight where free inter-system transfers were.

Such distinctions aren’t important nowadays, as the system is sufficiently unified that most ostensible transfers are readily available despite the original operator of the line. The late Massimo Vignelli’s map in 1972 thus gave each route its own unique color, and rendered the map devoid of geographic relation so as to create a diagram that could be more easily parsed.

The result is something of a veritable kaleidoscope of pastels. While its creator was lionized for its artistic creativity, and was subsequently commissioned to design The Weekender on the MTA’s website, the city had moved on in 1979 to something a tad more useful as a map. Michael Hertz’ map is the one the city has published since.

In this map and largely every map since, the color scheme has been uniform by line. This represents the third template the NYC Subway has made in that regard, but the reason is, as mentioned before, due to New York’s unique nature.

To explain the core issue, first must be explained the difference between a route and a line. A subway line is a length of track. A subway route is the path a train uses. Routes may use multiple lines.

For instance, the A train is known as the Eighth Avenue Express. Eighth Avenue is one of the lines that the route uses. That route also uses the Fulton Street Line and the Rockaway Line. The E train is another route that also use the Eighth Avenue Line. However, it uses the Archer Avenue Line and the Queens Boulevard Line as well.

With the exception of the Nassau Street Line and the Crosstown Line, all colors are based on what lines each route takes when they run through Midtown Manhattan. The exceptions don’t go through Midtown Manhattan. Hence, the A and the E are both blue trains, because both their routes use the Eighth Avenue Line when travelling through Midtown Manhattan. However, referring to routes by their color doesn’t help travelers at all, as they are wildly divergent when heading away from Midtown Manhattan.

By contrast, most systems – like the DC Metro, the Chicago L and the Boston T – generally have coterminous routes and lines: Each route is also its own line, and thus each color is unique to a route.

This hasn’t stopped new mapmakers from attempting to standardize maps between systems. Amateur mapmaker Chris Whong tried doing the DC style, for instance, with NYC, and by doing so reduced every route to its base color.

To quote blogger Cameron Booth, information is lost when attempting to recreate that distinction:

While the map looks great, it really also shows how unsuited the bold, simplistic approach taken by the DC diagram is to a complex transit system like New York’s.

One of the latest entrants for that conundrum, Jug Cerovic, added New York in his attempt to standardize all subway maps in the world, eschewing geography for pure schematics, choosing an alternate color scheme and giving each route its own color.

To quote Benjamin Kabak of Second Avenue Sagas, the map suffers for the same reasons the Vignelli map suffered:

“…if you’re going to try to produce a quasi-geographic schematic, it must have some relation to reality. It cannot be so divorced from the city layout to be useless as a map and as a navigation tool.”

Eddie Jabbour sells KickMap, which is a divide between the Hertz map and the Vignelli map, wherein the Hertz color scheme and the Vignelli route lines are merged.

As can be seen, exactly what to label a route in the New York subway is complicated indeed. Hence, when trundling under Midtown, it’s not the Green line, nor even the Lexington Ave line, but in New Yorker parlance, the “4/5/6.”

Art Reflects Life Reflects Art

TAGS: None

There is a flurry of controversial accusations surrounding Elliot Rodger’s murderous stampede in Isla Vista, California. Between his printed manifesto, his YouTube videos, his posts on Men’s Rights Activist websites and forums, and the circumstances around his parents, psychotherapy and police scrutiny, there is indeed a lot of fodder for speculation, and multiple conclusions to be gotten from his actions.

The Misogyny Angle

Almost immediately after the publication of his manifesto, where he blames women as a whole for many of his frustrations, both feminist and anti-feminist organizations have taken to social media to either defend or indict him on those lines: The #YesAllWomen tag on Twitter took off, in response to comments online from men arguing that Rodger’s actions didn’t reflect that of all men (partly under the Twitter tag #NotAllMen). Correct, they replied, not all men act like that, but all women experience men like that.

Some MRA sites, including those Rodger frequented, go one step further in identifying with Rodger’s sexual frustrations. One poster on such a site argued,

More people will die unless you give men sexual options.

Until you give men like Rodger a way to have sex, either by encouraging him to learn game, seek out a Thai wife, or engage in legalized prostitution—three things that the American media and cultural elite venomously attack, it’s inevitable for another massacre to occur. Even game itself, as useful as it is on a individual level, is a band-aid fix upon a culture which has stopped rewarding nice guys while encouraging female whoring to benefit only the top 10% of alpha males, all in the name of societal progress.

The misogyny rather speaks for itself, and continues to argue that Rodger represents a “beta male” mindset, using the terminology of such subcultures, which necessarily puts emotional relationships on a confrontational and competitive stance. Indeed, Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post pointed towards the filmographies of men like Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow, whose careers center around a basic story line:

How many men, raised on a steady diet of Judd Apatow comedies in which the shlubby arrested adolescent always gets the girl, find that those happy endings constantly elude them and conclude, “It’s not fair”?

Both Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow angrily absolved themselves on Twitter, making an argument akin to video game developers’ long-standing stance that violent first-person shooters are not directly responsible for tragic events like school shootings.

The Privilege Angle

Much attention was given to the “welfare checks” the police made on Rodger that failed to discover either the weapons stockpiles he had accumulated or his ravings on social media. According to Santa Barbara’s sheriff Bill Brown,

At the time the deputies interacted with him, he was able to convince them that he was OK. [...] When you read his autobiography and the manifesto that he wrote, it’s very apparent that he was able to convince many people for many years that he didn’t have this deep, underlying, obvious mental illness that ultimately manifested itself in this terrible tragedy.

Brown admitted that Rodger had seen a variety of psychiatric professionals who concluded he had serious issues, but was yet deemed copacetic enough neither to be held against his will on what is known as a 5150 – an involuntary psychiatric hold – nor to be denied the purchase of three semi-automatic pistols and several hundred rounds of ammunition.

This prompted a bevy of speculation as to what appears to be a fairly comprehensive social safety net simply not giving any real scrutiny to what is, in hindsight, an obvious threat prior to the slayings. The most common complaint is that it was – ironically, considering his manifesto – his social status as a well-to-do white male that protected him.

Even now, after the event, most media coverage is predicated on his mental health rather than simply labeling him a sociopath and a murderer. The anger of the victims’ families, putting emphasis on issues of gun control and law enforcement, are not given quite as much coverage as the speculation as to his exact mental illness. The newfound emphasis on psychological screening and psychiatric care is certainly warranted, but as with Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, an outsize level of care is given to determining their mental state compared to those of a different ethnic or economic background.

The Sociopathy Angle

Indeed, all this culminates into prescriptions for gun control, for mental health screening, for enhanced psychiatric care, and for a sociological look at the origins and promotions of what constitutes ‘rape culture’ as well as the culture of violence.

To return to Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen, while the argument that the genre of “man-child gets the hot chick” films are directly responsible is akin to arguing that ‘cryptofascist FPS gunporn’ is responsible for school shootings is facile, the indirect relationship is perhaps more worthy of investigation: For instance, as First Person Shooters may be indirectly responsible, through providing a desensitization to violence especially if projected via a filter of “it’s not really happening here” and a drumbeat promotion of solving issues through violence, for public support for pointless foreign wars – as it is clear that public support drops precipitously when conscription starts, as the war then becomes “real” – so too perhaps might man-child films have an indirect influence for public complacency around emotionally-stunted men.

Elliot Rodger, after all, certainly did not lack for human contact. He was not a complete shut-in, which means that there are a number of ostensibly well-adjusted men who have had dealings with him but for whom his actions did not raise enough warning bells to prompt action. Just as the police who knocked on his door simply took his word for it, so have many people who might have received hints as to his character but explained them away and thus allowed him to continue his dysfunctional ministrations.

Similarly, if one believes that art can make a difference – and how could one not and still choose to become an artist – then at least some attention must be given to what sort of message is imparted. This is, of course, an issue that all writers must tangle with: The necessary glamorization of a project to make it palatable to a mass audience can end up tainting the final message. “All these accoutrements of the rich are superficial and cold,” says F Scott Fitzgerald, “yeah, but they sound beautiful” read his readers, who then stage ‘Gatsby parties.’ The incongruity can be cause for lament for some artists, but in this age of immediate and pertinent feedback, Apatow and others still keep making the same movie.

If Ann Hornaday had a point, it came with Rogen and Apatow’s angry responses, for while there is no direct cause and effect between their genre of films and rape culture, their utter unrepentant stance implies and gives credence to the idea that there is some correlative connection. This is perhaps too strong an indictment of any one piece of mass media – and would indeed give such content purveyors too much credit to call them culture guardians – but society made Elliot Rodger, and society must do some soul-searching in order to that it may not make another.

© 2009 Big Smoke. All Rights Reserved.

This blog is powered by Wordpress and Magatheme by Bryan Helmig.