Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Debbie Schlussel's tortured logic

In the conclusion to the least awaited trilogy of the year, Debbie Schlussel makes a series a critical flip-flops that would make John Kerry blush. Apparently, Schlussel was for torture in movies before she was against it--before she was for it and against it at the same time.

The story begins with her review of Taken, in which she describes a scene of Muslim sex slavers getting their comeuppance from Liam Neeson:

One of them is purchasing the women as concubines for his boss, a big, fat, ugly Arab Muslim Sheikh on a yacht...There is a great scene where all of these evil Arabic-speaking scumbags get sent to a permanent conference call with the 72 virgins. That is the kind of stuff people went to movies to see, and they don't get to see it much at all anymore.

This is a movie in which a man is electrocuted (eventually to death) by Neeson in his search for his daughter. Presumably, this sort of torture is "the kind of stuff people went to movies to see."

On the other hand, she dismissed Watchmen as "a movie based on a comic book promoting rape, torture, and brutal killing." For the record, I believe she was saying that these are all bad things, although the comic book did not exactly "promote" them as much as it "depicted" them--as vile acts carried out by horrible people.

That sort of subtlety may be too much for Schlussel, who finds difficulty expressing a consistent viewpoint even in a single article. In her review of The Last House on the Left, she first writes:

Torture/snuff-porn movies like this have no purpose other than to satisfy some warped moviegoers' need for bloodlust. The movie was vile, sickening, and depraved. And we wonder why violent crime and the depravity of criminal acts is escalating, as its portrayal onscreen escalates. What's on the screen influences what's on the street.

Somehow she finds it in herself to write the following words in the very same review:

Some movie critics were disgusted with the cheering on of revenge by the family and planned to write about it. But, to me, that was the only "redeeming" part of seeing this . . . Of note, part of the revenge which people liked was when the parents waterboarded one of the criminal thugs who left their daughter for dead after raping her. It's the second movie I remember where viewers audibly enjoyed the waterboarding of criminal scum (the first was "Passenger 57," when Wesley Snipes waterboards a terrorist hijacker in the plane's toilet). And so they should--this is what we want (minus the rape and torture scenes that come before it). The bad guys deserve it.

Obsessing over--and defending--methods of torture like this, to the point of gleefully recording examples of a specific form of torture that occurs in movies and the audience's vocal applause for it, is simply torture-porn under the guise of film criticism.

But in Schlussel's defense, she is consistent about one thing--she hates Muslims. It is not just the sex slaver/terrorist variety, but all Muslims. You can see that from a St. Patrick's Day link she provides on her front page about the threat of the Muslim population taking over Ireland. She can't really name anything specifically bad that Muslims have done in Ireland, other than now Irish newspapers report on them or that mosques in Ireland are "Well, just like here in America, giant monstrosities."

Her final comment: "Blarney = Looking the Other Way as Islam Invades Ireland." She then found it necessary to add this important update to the article, a letter from a real-live Irish racist:

You forgot to mention we are just about 5 million and if these people keep breeding we will be overwhelmed in a very short time. We suffer from Elites and I mean Elites. It took us 800 hundred years to be free from England and now we are about to spend etentity [sic] serving animals. May God and St. Patrick help us from these Devils.

Now you can see why she liked Taken so much.


Dan said...

Wow, what a dumb, stuck up racist bitch. Based on her blog posts, it seems she hates watching movies as well (Yuck: Another Long Day Screening Movies). Why the hell is she even reviewing movies? I'd take her job gladly!

Terry said...

She doesn't even understand the definition of "waterboarding," since it's meant to simulate drowning to induce panic in the victim. In "Last House on the Left," the parents were actively trying to drown the person in question.

Scott said...

Thanks, Terry. I haven't seen the movie but I suspected as much, since waterboarding is a bit more complicated procedure compared to just shoving somebody's head underneath the water. It would also be very difficult to do unless you have several people to hold the victim down.

I assume the same is true of Passenger 57--it would not be terribly easy to waterboard somebody in an airplane bathroom, and I doubt anybody (including the screenwriter and director) would have any idea what it was 17 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Scott, did you see the ads for "I love you man"? Ben Lyons' blurb is front and center. Disgusting. The Onion actually took notice of this and mentioned it in their Tolerability Index.

Scott said...

I did! I actually caught it on the DVR (probably for Millionaire) and I kept meaning to take a snapshot and post it but I deleted the show. I saw that commercial last night and I did NOT see the Lyons quote, so I am guessing that they may have been embarrassed into removing it.

Anonymous said...

Scott, grow up and get a life and stop attacking all of these movie critics. The world could deal with a little less hate so just move on. What's your deal man?

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure the "quotable" blurb is still on the print ads. Maybe with TV, they have two different spots for it. Kudos to the Onion for noticing it and making fun of it.

Scott said...

If you are so against criticizing critics, I really don't understand why you waste your time reading this blog. As for the world being ready for a little less hate, you are right, which is why I think it is so important to take down hate-mongers like Debbie Schlussel.

What she says is not inconsequential--Arabs and Muslims are racially profiled and picked up off the street and thrown in jail without due process. The vile racism spewed forth from the likes of Debbie Schlussel (not that she is the only one . . .) is part of the reason why anti-Arab/Muslim has any traction at all.

You can stick your head in the sand all you want, and try to convince the rest of us that we should do the same, but some of us are shocked by this and think it needs to be exposed for what it is. Why you think it is ok is something I will never understand, especially since you neither put up any real defense of Schlussel nor tell us who you actually are.

But I guess I don't blame you--I would be embarrassed to defend her, too.

Anonymous said...

Right on, Scott. Stereotyping and discriminating against Arab/ Muslims in times like these does no one any favors. Alienating and offending a minority in America and worldwide does nothing but create more potential terrorists and lessen the entire Muslim world's opinion of America.

Anonymous said...

You know how you might be able to stop Muslims/Arabs from blowing up your fellow Americans in the next 10 or 20 years? Treat them like you would treat anyone else. Don't pull them aside at airports for the color of their skin. Don't have the FBI or CIA regularly running all over their neighborhoods (a Muslim girl I once talked to says it happens all the time in her Queens, New York neghborhood). Don't treat them differently at school or work. Don't make movies with them as the cliched terrorists and fanatics. Tell Debbie Asshole that we are not with stupid.

Anonymous said...

* That we don't agree with her and she doesn't speak for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't defending Debbie, Scott, I was just telling you to lighten up and move on and stop attacking all these critics. They're people with feelings too you know.

Scott said...

Maybe you should go to Debbie's web site and tell her to stop attacking Muslims. I may be hurting people's feelings, but her words are helping to destroy lives.

PS When Debbie shows that she has an ounce of humanity and stops spewing racist filth, I will begin to consider her feelings. In the meantime, she deserves far worse than to have a blog call her out on it.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed that Debbie Schlussel, a Jew, a member of a discriminated, violated and feared minority, is able to be so racist. You would think that if anyone could know the evils of racism and religious intolerance, it would be a Jew and the grandchild of Holocaust survivors. Further proof that having suffering in your past doesn't neccessarily make you any more sympathetic or kinder.

Anonymous said...

I was just at Debbie's blog and could not believe how BLATANTLY RACIST she is!!
One quick example, she always calls Dearborn "Dearbornistan"

Seh should realize she is responsible for promoting an environment of hatred and animosity in America.. I believe strongly in Karma, and it WILL bite her in the ass one day soon.