May I still like American Beauty?

Sir? Madam? May I still like American Beauty?

AB 1

David Klion is a writer and editor in Brooklyn whose work has appeared in The Nation, The New York Times, The Guardian, Jewish Currents, and other publications.

Well….

I don’t know, I guess…. not?

I watched American Beauty as a teenager; a female teenager, I should mention, sometimes in the early ’00s. Sadly, it’s been one of my favourite films ever since. I’m not sad that it is my favourite movie, but I am sad for people attempting to make me feel guilty for liking it. There are many reasons you like a movie and not all of them have to do with a right/wrong directions of ethics and values (despite what you’ve been told the last decade), or with fluffy, cute warm feelings, or even -gasp- with representation! I’ll leave Disney and co. to that and their need to get more money through manipulation of people’s low self-esteem.

I like movies for multiple reasons:

  • Guy Richie’s Sherlock Holmes films are two of my all time favourite movies, they are my «hurt/comfort» movies.
  • Mike Leigh’s Naked is my «uncomfortable as hell» favourite movie. There are times I don’t even like it, but the feeling I get by the end of the movie is too strong not to acknowledge.
  • Cohen Brothers’ The man who wasn’t there is my go to «black & white elegance aesthetic» favourite movie.
  • American Beauty is one of my favourite «bittersweet movies with a complex, male protagonist». Neil Jordan’s The Crying Game is another one in this list.

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Better Be Safe Than Sorry

 

Parents tell their kids not to talk to strangers, not to take candies from strangers, not to go to cars with strangers.

Are they trying to shame them? To stop them from making new friends?

Until my years, parents adviced their kids how to be safe. It doesn’t always help. Kids are grabbed and kidnapped. But it’s easier to get kidnapped if your child is not told to be aware of their surroundings; of how some people are not good and these people may harm them.

It’s interesting how in a world where women keep talking about being sexually harassed all the time, an advice to how they can attempt to protect themselves is taken as «shaming» or «blaming». My mind cannot be wrapped around it.

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We, You and the Victim

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2

Showbiz and victimhood

There are good victims and then there are bad victims.
There are the victims we want and there are the victims we don’t want.
There are accusations we accept with no evidence.
There are accusations we don’t accept despite the evidence.

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Bots, trolls and people who disagree with [you]

We live in the era of social media. I use them, I have made friends -in a rather weird kind of sense, but I talk more with them than with my real-life, close friends so, why the hell not? they are friends-, and I have shared my opinions, unpopular or not through social media. Most of the times, my opinions are unpopular. After all, I was born in a different century…. when I was a kid, we started our essays  with «On the doorstep of the 21st century….» Good times. It was still the 20th century after all.

How times have changed!

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Johnny Depp versus #metoo

Misleading headlines is a must! You should try it.

But, not really, no. It’s just that some elements of movements -that could be called hypocritical- have come out to raise their ugly heads ever since Mr. Depp has sued his ex wife for defamation.

  • What is #metoo?

The Me Too movement (or #MeToo movement), with a large variety of local and international alternative names, is a movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault.  The movement began to spread virally in October 2017 as a hashtag on social media in an attempt to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace. It followed sexual-abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Tarana Burke, an American social activist and community organizer, began using the phrase «Me Too» as early as 2006, and the phrase was later popularized by American actress Alyssa Milano, on Twitter in 2017.

Tarana Burke, a social activist and community organizer, began using the phrase «Me Too» in 2006, on the Myspace social network as part of a campaign to promote «empowerment through empathy» among women of colour who have experienced sexual abuse, particularly within underprivileged communities.

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Johnny Depp: a story of silence

I still believe Johnny Depp didn’t abuse his ex-wife.

And, as things are, some people still believe Amber Heard.

I had hoped I wouldn’t have to write anything else about this case. However, since the last time, a lot of things have happened.

  • Johnny Depp have sued the Sun and its columnist, Dan Wootton, for libel.
  • Amber Heard has become ambassador for UN Human Rights and she’s been talking and writing about being a survivor of abuse.
  •  Johnny Depp is treated as an abuser in social media and media and people ask to be replaced from his role in JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beast movie series.
    Disney has officially dropped him from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, as was announced in December 22, 2018.
  •  Amber Heard penned an OpEd for the Washington Post as an abuse survivor.
  •  Johnny Depp sued his ex-wife for the aforementioned OpEd for the Washington Post as defamatory.

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Kevin Spacey and I

Having a favourite artist of yours being accused of a crime harms your emotional life. Of course it depends on multiple factors; most of all on whether you actually like the artist or your like found root in the fact liking them is the trendy thing to do. If the latter is the truth, then if it becomes trendy to hate them, well, you follow the trend. And you feel good with yourself. «I liked him (A/N. let’s be honest it’s usually a «he»), but then he did that and I hate him now. Look how good I am. I’m going to make a list of bad people in a post/tweet adding his name so more alike-thinkers find it and follow me.» After all that was the reason they liked them to begin with. Make other fans of the trend follow them.

However, if you actually liked them because of their work? If you have felt emotions, if you had been inspired by them? If your work is inspired by them? Well, you’re screwed. They are this kind of hidden mentors who can do no wrong because you don’t actually know them. They help through their own work. Of course, this leads to inability to see an artist’s faults. There is always a down side.

But, these artists are like family.

Sometimes, their work is the only thing you have during a hard period of my life. When my Dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, Robert Downey Jr.’s movies were my anchor alongside my family, they were the light in a very dark time. And with them, Robert Downey, Jr.

Kevin Spacey to me, has been special that way.

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The political correctness of canceling

“A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill.”
Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

 

«Can I separate the artist from the art?»

or

«He said what?»

Yes.

Things are so confusing. It’s not just «x artist did something bad, I feel uncomfortable to pay to see/listen to him/her»

It’s also «X artist said something insensitive or something I didn’t like and I want him/her cancelled».
Even if we begin with the first part, we reduce art to commercial. Everything is about money. Everything is a product. «I don’t want my money to go to a man who preys on women, men, boys or girls»… Then we move to «I don’t want art that objectifies women, that describes sexual assault»; «Lolita was the work of a pervert»… and on and on.

It’s not just one thing to discuss. It’s numerous things, with bigger or lesser importance that fall under the same category because social justice in social media cannot categorise things under levels of importance. Also, it begins to remind fascistic territories.

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Preconceived notions and how to beat them?

Well, how to recognise it at least.

Has it ever happened to you to debate a subject you know extremely well, and to feel like you talk to a brick wall?

Of course you have. Either discussing face to face with someone or in the digital world, in the internet, in the social media. Unless you talk with someone with the same opinion -and let’s be honest, even then there may be a problem if you have reached to the same conclusion through different thought process- sometimes the urge to bang your head against your desk or the wall seems more fruitful than keep debating.

And it goes like this;

Are they stupid?

Am I stupid?

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About Gary Oldman

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My worst fears about trial by media have come true. The fact I’ve been right all along doesn’t bring any kind of satisfaction. On the contrary, I’m sick of it.

Forget that any case that attracts the media’s spotlight the way it does today cannot be fair to the accused. The jury is out there reading all those articles and blogs that present one side of every case and have already declared the accused 100% guilty and then some more. Forget the Presumption of Innocence as basic, human right earned centuries ago. All those are so passé in the 21st century.

The presumption of innocence seems easily forgotten in the so-called “court of public opinion”. When high-profile criminal cases capture media attention, the public opinion seems to sway towards presuming the person is guilty – before he even steps foot inside a courtroom to have a judge or jury determine whether or not he is guilty. This ‘presumption of guilt’ in the public’s opinion can be devastating to reputations; careers; families, and almost every other aspect of life. Even if eventually found ‘not guilty’ in a court of law, recovering from a public smearing of one’s name and reputation may prove impossible.

source

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