Tag Archives: disgust

Hollywood’s Cover-Ups or Indonesia’s Castration Method: How Should We Deal With Pedophiles?

The sexual assault of a child is the most abhorrent crime in the world. As a society we curse those who commit such crimes and refuse to recognize them as anything but outsiders and deviants. Unfortunately, pedophilia is far more common than we care to admit.

Former child actors Elijah Wood and Corey Feldman recently drew attention to the problem of pedophilia in Hollywood. While Wood only pointed to events he had heard about (and last year’s documentary film, An Open Secret), Feldman referred to his own experience with abuse

Unfortunately for Feldman, even if he would like to call out the men who abused him as a child he is unable to do so for legal reasons:

I would love to name names. I’d love to be the first to do it. But unfortunately California conveniently enough has a statute of limitations that prevents that from happening. Because if I were to go and mention anybody’s name I would be the one that would be in legal problems and I’m the one that would be sued.

In a stark juxtaposition to Hollywood, Indonesia is also in the news for their dealings with pedophiles. After a 14-year-old girl was brutally gang raped and then murdered, President Joko Widodo introduced a new law that would mean the death penalty or chemical castration for the sexual assault of a minor.

After reading about the injustice of Hollywood, where survivors are unable to prosecute the predators who took advantage of them, reading about Indonesia can feel like a breath of fresh air. However, it’s worth looking beyond our gut reaction to ask if forced chemical castration, and the possibility of the death penalty, will actually work as a deterrent against the sexual assault of a minor. Continue reading

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Stay Classy, Comic Book Fans

I don’t necessarily identify as a “nerd” or a “geek,” but I definitely identify as a comic book fan. As such, it hasn’t been hard to notice how I and others like me are stereotyped by popular culture, whether it be Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons, Kevin Smith and his pals talking about which superheroine they’d most like to bang on AMC’s Comic Book Men, or the gawking crowd of guys in a particular episode of The Big Bang Theory. These stereotypes, like most, are not as true as people think, but every now and then they ring true, much to the shame of those who share in that group.

ComicBookMovie.com is one of my favourite comic news sites, and one that I check on an almost hourly basis. It’s great because it gives a lot of news about upcoming comic book movies, as well as previews of upcoming comic books. One issue the site has, however, is that all of the content is completely user-generated, meaning that certain things may get to the front page that aren’t exactly high quality stuff.

Take, for example, an article in response to actress Shailene Woodley being cast as Mary Jane Watson in the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man 2, titled “EDITORIAL: Making Shailene Woodley Hot Enough To Play MJ In TASM 2.”

As a little bit of context, the first shots of Woodley as MJ were not met with a great deal of enthusiasm. They depicted what appeared to be a very plain-looking redheaded girl, and not one who was anything like the “super-hot, incredibly bone-able character from the comics,” to quote the CBM contributor Mark “RorMachine” Cassidy. Below is an image I took from the article which shows Woodley side by side with a very popular image of the comic book character.

Upon skimming this article I was disgusted. The four areas that Woodley could work on in her portrayal were listed as “TITS,” “FACE,” “HAIR,” “ASS,” and “ACTING ABILITY,” in that order. I’m going to pull the first, and most offensive, of the paragraphs out to explain exactly why I was so repulsed:

TITS:

Look at the pic – comic MJ has lovely big disproportionate ones, Woodley doesn’t. Now obviously surgery would be the best route, but that’s highly unlikely so I recommend padding. It’s very simple, just stick a stuffed Wonderbra on the chick, and any scenes requiring actual semi or full (hey, we can hope!) nudity can utilize CGI! It’s a magical age for cinema folks.

To help restore your faith in humanity the article was met by others who were just as offended as I was:

I’m not sure if it was present the first time I skimmed it, but posted at the very bottom was the following note by Cassidy:

NOTE: This article is meant as satire. It’s a response to the – genuine – backlash Miss Woodley received when she was cast in the movie, and then again when set images of her were posted online. No offence to Miss Woodley or anyone else is meant, and I (meaning me, and not the absurd persona I wrote the article as!) genuinely think she is a beautiful, talented actress who will do a great job as MJ 

As is the case with the internet, users popped up to comment and agree that clearly this was satirical, and began waging war with those who were “making too big a deal out of it.” Then, over on CinemaBlend, Katey Rich wrote an article in response titled “If You Think Shailene Woodley Isn’t Pretty Enough For The Amazing Spider-Man 2, You Don’t Deserve The Movie.”

In it she decries the shallowness of complaining an actress isn’t “hot enough,” using some very choice words to address realistic beauty. Rich exhibits just as much, if not more, disgust at the article, but more importantly addresses the topic of Cassidy’s article being a satire. She claims, and rightly so, that:

The “satire” was so close to the real thing that most of [CBM’s] commenters didn’t get the difference, and reading it makes your skin crawl because you just know that’s exactly how a strong handful of fanboys feel, no irony intended.

Thankfully, and again, people restoring your faith in humanity, another contributor named “Jack Sparrow” [in quotes because I’m fairly sure that’s not his real name] posted on the site featuring Rich’s rebuttal to the offensive editorial. He essentially agrees with her, summing up why it can’t truly be seen as satire, but more important he apologizes:

We are sorry, Shailene Woodley. We are sorry, comic book fangirls. We are sorry, women that came across Mark “RorMachine” Cassidy’s “satire”. He doesn’t speak for all of us.

We are not all mysoginistic pigs. And in the light of the recent The Amazing Spider-Man 2 announcements, I couldn’t be more excited to watch Shailene Woodley start her journey to bring Mary Jane Watson to life.

I’m mildly excited about TASM2 [I’m way more pumped for this May’s Iron Man 3], and at this point I don’t have any solid opinions on Shailene Woodsley being the girl to deliver the classic line “Face it, Tiger, you just hit the jackpot!” [or some variation thereof]. What’s more important to me is that, as the title of this post suggests, comic book fans stay classy. That the people who love this medium as much as I do conduct themselves in a manner that’s, at best, not reprehensible. The public has a general view of what comic book fans are supposed to be like, and it doesn’t benefit anyone to play to that stereotype even in jest.

Stay classy, comic book fans. I mean it.

Internet Disgusted By Video Game Promotion [Also: Zombie Breasts]

Way back in the February of 2011 the following trailer was released for the video game Dead Island:


It was so impressive that last I heard, Lionsgate was going to make a Dead Island film based on the trailer. Not the game, the trailer for the game. A feature-length film based on the trailer for a video game. Think on that for a bit.

What it does is speak volumes for the game’s publisher, Deep Silver, and those it hired to advertise the game. There was an emphasis placed on the feelings of terror and loss and the need to protect one’s family; it sought to set itself apart from other zombie games [of which there are so many]. Unfortunately the game turned out to be your fairly standard run-of-the-mill zombie hack and slash, but that’s not the point here.

The point is that this trend was actually continued in the promotion of the game’s sequel, Dead Island: Riptide, the trailer of which can be viewed here. The tone is once again consistent with that of the first, highlighting the terrors of a vacation gone horribly, horribly wrong. Which is great. And which is why the following seems so shockingly out of place.

The image you see above is a promo image for the European “Zombie Bait Edition” of the game, the crowning glory of which is the statuette at the centre. This was, earlier this week, described as being “Dead Island’s grotesque take on an iconic Roman marble torso sculpture.” This was met with understandable outrage and disgust from the internet, which prompted those at Deep Silver to scramble wildly and release the following apology:

“We deeply apologize for any offense caused by the Dead Island Riptide “Zombie Bait Edition”, the collector’s edition announced for Europe and Australia. Like many gaming companies, Deep Silver has many offices in different countries, which is why sometimes different versions of Collector’s Editions come into being for North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

For the limited run of the Zombie Bait Edition for Europe and Australia, a decision was made to include a gruesome statue of a zombie torso, which was cut up like many of our fans had done to the undead enemies in the original Dead Island.

We sincerely regret this choice. We are collecting feedback continuously from the Dead Island community, as well as the international gaming community at large, for ongoing internal meetings with Deep Silver’s entire international team today. For now, we want to reiterate to the community, fans and industry how deeply sorry we are, and that we are committed to making sure this will never happen again.”

 So no harm now foul, right? Dead Silver took back their horrible statuette and we can chalk another victory up for the internet! But why exactly were people upset? An article on Rock, Paper, Shotgun which I linked to but will link to again said this about it:

This is beyond disgusting. It’s as if someone were attempting to demonstrate the most misogynist idea that could possibly be conceived, in an attempt to satirise the ghastly trend. A text book example of the most extreme ends of misogynist fantasy, a woman reduced to nothing but her tits, her wounds hideously depicted in gore, jutting bones, and of course barely a mark covering her globular breasts.

It’s very prevalent in a lot of zombie imagery you can find nowadays, and it’s certainly present in this picture of a zombified Snow White on the left. Her body is mutilated [appropriately so, for a zombie] but her breasts remain completely untouched. There’s this sense of the grotesque from the image as a whole, but her chest remains an object of potential titillation.

I don’t think I have to say too much about how grossly sexist this is, and how prevalent it is in the society we live in. What I am going to say is thank God that on some level we can make enough of a public outcry to stop stuff like this before it happens. The bottom line is this: if we as a community [on the internet or otherwise] care enough about something, we really can do something about it.  Even if it’s just stopping the production and sales of a tasteless statue.

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A rebuttal to essentially everything I’ve written can be read in an article by Daav Valentaten on Venture Beat entitled “The Dead Island: Riptide reaction was an equality fail.” I present it as a counterpoint to my own post.