I take it some of you have never seen the movie Peeping Tom, but for those who haven’t, let’s just say it depicts the entire profession of photography in a bad light.
You know how I’ve been known to be shy of taking anyone’s picture at all because they don’t want to be photographed, so I end up with a barely used DSLR camera I’m terrified to pull out in public for fear of being labeled a creeper? This movie is why my creeper label fears are entirely inflamed.
Photographers get a real shafting in horror movies. They’re depicted as creepers or perverts that stalk you and or otherwise try to murder you somehow. If I was head of the Photographer’s Guild or whoever represents the photography industry I would have sued the pants off the guy who made this for defamation of the entire profession.
I didn’t spend the last four years of college learning a Photomedia degree so horror movies could trash talk people of my skill set by labelling them as serial killers and perverts. Part of why you go to college to learn photography isn’t just the glitz and glamour of a possible fashion career, you learn the ethics and legal stuff of the trade for the exact reasons this movie, Peeping Tom makes abundantly clear. In fact street photography privacy laws are set up so this kind of shit can be avoided.
I just watched the Bela Lugosi version of Dracula, which turned my theory that the relationship between artists/writers/indie bands and the nerds and hipsters that consume their work is not unlike how Dracula is idolised by Renfield, and he gets scraps in return for his devotion, while Dracula slowly takes over the village he resides in, word of mouth grows about this mysterious man, and Renfield, his fanboy/poorly paid social media consultant, has the job of bragging to others about how awesome Dracula is, even if Dracula does some reprehensible things.
Like Dracula, artists and creators need their own hypnotised, crazy fanboys/girls to promote their work and do their bidding as they grow in popularity. And in this analogy, Van Helsing is the equivalent of haters on the Internet who keep dissing the work of artists who may or may not be talented but are probably hiding that they’re terrible people.
Suppose if I told you there was a box that you could put all your most harmful and scary feelings into, and every time you felt like the weight of these feelings were too much to bear. The box is where you put all these dark emotions that would scare strangers, even people you love enough that they’d be concerned. But every time you put these feelings into the box, you gently put it away where it cannot hurt anyone, not in any meaningful way where they’d drive you insane enough to murder somebody with a chainsaw like Leatherface or with a machete like Jason.
And when you need the box again, you empty your most terrifying feelings into it, putting it away again where nobody can be harmed by it, and each time you do, all thoughts of slaughtering your mean boss or even your family that doesn’t understand the pain you’re going through such as a dismal depression simply fade away into the box, and they’re not inside you anymore. Because you put them away. Where they belong.
That is why we enjoy the horror genre. It is the box where our darkest, scariest emotions, our worst fears and disturbed hates get put into, and we put it away because we don’t need to feel these awful things twenty four hours a day. It is in the box such feelings belong, and it is why people who don’t keep their scary, dark feelings in the box are regarded as madmen.
I’m not a hater of what people call “hipster” art. I prefer to call it Lo-Fi art since what art movements associated with the age of Instagram seem to have in common with amateur art is that it’s identifiably linked to Lo-Fi aesthetics of stationery and non-digital crafts as much as iPhone apps.
It’s odd that people get angry about photography made with Instagram and sketchbook staples of squirrel scribblings done with pen and paper because it doesn’t make people angry enough.
Look, I know this is a tough sell coming from the guy who spliced actual police brutality footage from his campus’s protest into Cannibal Holocaust found footage reaction shots, but perhaps I should make myself clear.
I… I REFUSE TO CONDEMN PEOPLE FOR CREATING LO-FI INDIE MATERIAL.
I believe that Weird Al Yankovic can be considered just as important as the darker lyricism and harsher sounds of Lou Reed, because the fun lightness Weird Al gives to the world’s just as necessary as the transgressive music of Lou Reed.
Lou Reed somehow found a way of making instrumental audio tracks be transgressive without the presence of profanity laden lyrics, and that’s certainly an achievement to celebrate.
But Weird Al is what I should be listening to when I’m stressed out or crying over something with sparrow’s tears because my eyeballs refuse to obey me in ways appropriate to the emotions provoked. He’s fun and makes me remember that joy still exists no matter what the news is telling me in the Sydney Morning Herald every day.
And I find it hard to get angry over things that make people happy. I’ve certainly never wanted to hate on people’s hobbies, since I know how hard it is getting my brother to watch anime and his joy of viewing Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood is amplified by my overlapping interest and the incriminating photograph I possess of voice actor Vic Mignogna trying to sparkle in a red Affliction brand jumper.
These small joys are so precious, I can’t get very angry about people having fun with things I’d normally enjoy at all.
It’s why I’m baffled to find any real reason to dislike Zooey Deschanel for reasons other than “The only thing I remember her from is 500 Days Of Summer but I liked that movie”. These quirky indie women aren’t hurting anyone. Unless of course TMZ suddenly came out with footage of Zooey Deschanel committing mass murder, I will stand by that statement.
I can’t get angry at people who like wearing flannel shirts because it’s fun and affordable, or people who wear “retro vintage” t-shirts despite seeming too young to be “true fans” of that band or film or TV show but scratch the surface and it turns out they’ve only been into that fandom for a month but despite this they kind of dig what that thing has to offer a younger generation the thing wasn’t made for.
The only real problem I find is the lack of sincerity in pop cultural fandoms which in itself is a coping mechanism for people afraid to be hurt by Hollywood’s cash cow farm of remakes and sequels, once a new generation of creatives gets hold of some cultural clout I reckon people will be less uncomfortable with being sincere.
We live in an era where there’s a changing of the guard and sometimes when that happens in times where pop culture is fragmented, Wes Anderson-like iconography of Lo-Fi analogue cameras, notebooks and paperbacks can certainly be interpreted less as a lack of originality as much as “These are signs and symbols of different types of people who share similar interests and hobbies but not all the same thoughts as everybody else who also likes this”.
I’m certainly not despairing when I see somebody reading an orange and cream white Penguin Classics paperback of On The Road because everybody’s reading the book I read when I was 17 but it took them longer to discover it.
My brain is much more likely to react with “Ah! Somebody who’s read a book I have that other humans have actually heard of! Potential friends ahoy!”.
You know how I went from having next to no friends when I started Uni to being somebody regarded as a tastemaker? I let people come over to watch the most messed up DVDs my collection possesses, and odd as it is my alarming selection of Ozsploitation horror and grindhouse flicks shelved next to Takashi Miike’s more notorious works didn’t scare my potential buddies away like I feared.
They didn’t flee my home in terror of finding the den of a creepy weirdo like I dreaded, but wanted to come back for more. That’s why I’m baffled as to how stereotypes who reject great art because it’s “too mainstream” manage to find like minded fans who don’t think they’re a snobby tool to newbie fans who heard about the new hotness from THEM.
Sometimes I wonder if the reason I’ll survive a horror movie won’t be because I’m a virgin but because I cannot bear to push people away when they reach out to me, and therein lies survival when suddenly Freddy Kruger attacks and I’m the only one screaming like a canary in the coal mine my friends keep around because in times of trouble, the writer/photographer who creates works in his attic’s always the first to know there’s a problem or people are hurting inside, whether thorough internal bleeding or emotional guilt. Don’t push people away in any given situation and you could save a life as well as share a happy one.
I can see why there’d be concerns about this. Nazism was founded by an evil bastard to be sure, and the atrocities committed in his name aren’t particularly funny. Mel Brooks felt the need to make Hitler look ridiculous to assist comedy, but I think there’s a side to this debate that nobody’s really given a look in yet.
That flip side of the coin is called Tucker And Dale Versus Evil.
It is a comedy horror film that has nothing to do with Nazis, but strangely could be applied to our reactions to Nazis. Tucker and Dale, our hillbilly protagonists, are top blokes who love nothing more than vacationing and drinking beer by the lake. Enter some judgemental college students who due to a number of hillbilly related horror movies, think that Tucker and Dale are pure evil but really they’re the victims of horrible stereotyping, leading to genuinely funny hijinks that don’t even really exploit bloody carnage as the filmmakers brilliantly point out the downright judgemental stereotypes of a culture of people they can’t live down because generations of horror movies have demonised otherwise well meaning, if awkward hillbillies who want nothing more than live by the ethos of Creedence Clearwater Revival.
This movie is hilarious for the exact reason why actual atrocities and mass murder are not, it actually confronts our perception using sociological, and psychological concepts rarely explored in either horror or comedy of late. This film dares to address the unmentioned truth that just because one group of a certain culture did horrible things, doesn’t mean any other members of said culture have done or will do anything of the sort.
It’s the smartest horror comedy I’ve seen in a long time, as you end up learning things while being entertained. And that’s where I think the Nazis as comedy genre really needs to expand.
Permit me, if you will, to pitch a concept for a film where these poor German guys are belittled and hated on by tourists who think they’re nothing but Nazis, and said German guys have to defend not only their honour, but their livelihoods from this mob-mentality group of tourists who see them as evil to be destroyed because of The History Channel and Quentin Tarantino.
That’s what I think the real comedy goldmine of the Holocaust is, or secret Nazi gold is. The actual atrocities committed by Nazis, you can’t make that shit funny. But people’s overreaction whenever they see a German person in any context? Hilarious indeed.
I’m just saying we haven’t seen the true rebirth of Third Reich Comedy when we haven’t even scratched the surface of what is actually funny about it versus stuff we couldn’t wring comedy out of like actual atrocities if we tried.
And wouldn’t you know it, I’ve been working on something similar, but you’ll have to see it when it’s published.
What I love about the Australian art scene is that people think they can destroy it by taking away its funding, but the horrifying reality is that people in this country will always keep making it, even if it means working on a budget that makes Kevin Smith’s cash look like a Scrooge McDuck swimming pool. You think you can kill the art with a funding reduction, but this isn’t any ordinary environment, friends. This is a place where whatever CAN survive in this blasted hellscape of an outback consistently lurks, and each creature you think is dead haunts your mind. Australian Art’s like that bloody terrifying zombie dugong that keeps following the two campers in the movie Long Weekend, never leaving them alone, always lingering as a reminder of society’s, and their own crimes. It cannot truly be erased, and it continues to scrape on its belly bleeding in the most intimidating way possible until those who have wronged it have their bodies absorbed into the ecosystem they’ve tried to damage to their peril.
All attempts to TRULY kill culture in this country have failed. Why? Because in a country with a landscape as brutal as ours, the wimpy life-forms may have died off, but the freaking unholy behemoths that refuse to be screwed with are left.
geekphilosopher asked: My twin brother is a film school grad and I am an art school student/novelist who reads a lot but he doesn't, often I have to familiarise myself with movies a lot more than I otherwise would as a sort of second language apart from literature/books so I can bond with him in a way he understands. Do you think people who work in less mainstream mediums often take a peek at other mediums to communicate better with others, artists or not? I feel this helps me befriend non-book people, find new ideas.
I think it’s healthy for artists to have a wide breadth of knowledge across mediums - it gives them more tools in their toolbox. So yes, keep doing...