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A lullaby for the middle class
It may seem strange. I hate CSI, in all its versions, almost as much as I love "The Wire".
On one hand, it appears to me some form of disguised "science fiction": the efficiency of the crime labs depicted seems, frankly, unearthly.
I tend to believe more in the messy lab depicted in "The Wire", the one with the blood samples rotting in a broken freezer, than to all the (highly) expensive tests of CSI and their superhuman ability to perform near state-of-the-art verifications.
On the other end, I can't help but find disgusting most of the fiends: they almost always kill for pretty silly reasons.
Looking at them, from my country (I'm Italian - CSI arrived here too...) they are almost incomprehensible (the whole country has less homicides per year than a couple of USA major cities, let's say Baltimore plus Detroit ).
And, frankly, upsetting. Is this the future of occidental civilization?
Ah, I almost forgot: to my eyes the protagonists look all, each one for his own reason, as a bunch of S.O.B. that I would never want as neighbors.
If I had to select a show I should stop watching, is CSI. In fact, I stopped.
I happened to look it just because there was nothing else (not better, else) to watch on Tuesday night, waiting for "Last Exile" in the local MTV anime evening.
Six full episodes of disgust, before I gave up.
Than, I took a look at the first episodes of the spin-offs, just to see if anything changes. Nothing really change, it's the same stuff cooked the same way.
All its value is in its being the classic lullaby for the middle class: the shining knights of CSI will discover the assassins through their supreme expertise and technology, so that every God-fearing, law abiding good citizen can go to sleep under three wool blankets. Which is probably the reason of its success.
The Dark Side of Porn (2005)
Yet another streak of pseudo-morality on the porn industry
The dark side of porn is a documentary from UK television Channel Four. Although it's a documentary, it's hardly a dispassionate or an objective one.
Its "ideological agenda" is clearly to show how filth porn is and how much women are exploited by the pornographic industries, which is true. They are exploited. But they are exploited as much as are the workers at the bottom of the productive chain in any unregulated, or scarcely regulated industry.
Also, it fall short on noticing that some of the problems it supposedly shows are not always pertaining to the porn industry in itself.
The most vivid example of this is the last documentary in the series...
Animal Farm, the portrait of the dutch woman who "started" porn with animals.
It is not porn industry that molested the protagonist when she was twelve, nor it is a porn director that instigated her aversion for normal sexual interactions, nor it was some horrible producer who pressured the farmers around her to stay away from her farm, leading her to resort to pornography to make some bucks and avoid hitting the bottom.
Because this is what she did: she was drowning, she shoot some (pretty ugly) crap, get some money out of it and a strange kind of fame, and regained somehow a floating line. Would she had been able to manage herself, she could have had a pretty decent life. She drought in a bottle, instead, but nobody blames WalMart when it happens to one of its employees years afters he stopped working there, no?
Yet, the ends of the episode come with the usual crap about "she was a fragile woman exploited by the porn industries". Yes, and also is the waitress at the seven-eleven on the corner of my street - not sexually, maybe, but I wouldn't swear on it - only she had never had a chance to own her own farm.
Another good example of the "political agenda" overtaking reality is the episode "Does Snuff Exist"...
In it, the most equilibrated voice is maybe that of an FBI official that says: "With the amount of credibility that special effects can achieve, and selling this to people who is willing to believe it's true, why even risk an homicide to end up with a non viable product?".
And, if you think a little, it's obvious. You may even make that stuff, but then what? For ruthless as may a distributor be, you can bet your wage that (under the current rules of the game) he wouldn't want even to be in the same room with it unless he was sure it was a fake. And if it did, it probably wouldn't outsell a well done fake made by some professional crew. Or get a cent more from any piece of it.
Obviously, this voice of reason is cut before it ends the phrase and stuffed in the middle of a lot of babbles along the lines of "It has never been found one true example till now, but one day it may happens". Yes, like the Unicorn. No one ever saw one, but with the help of Craig Venter, one day maybe...
All in all, it's a bunch of the classic "documentary" about how filthy is pornography (whic is, but for other reasons, in other ways), and the need to apply more censorship to avoid spreading its filth.
And it was made before the discussion (and to endorse the approval) of a law in England that condemns with three years the possession of "extreme pornography" (whatever it may means) which, if someone look at how evolved other such prohibitions in the past century, are likely to make that **** more profitable, hence more likely to be actually shoot.
With the notable exception of "Me and My Slave" and its depiction of an aging SM gay master that's going to leave the profession, the vision of these ten documentaries is just a stupid way to lose your time.
But I'm a Cheerleader (1999)
A thoughtful smile
Well, I ran into this small jewel looking through Clea Duvall filmography.
I was delighted, much more than any heterosexual -but rather kinky, admittedly- male should have to, by this campy joke about the harshness of a rehab camp for homosexuals.
Natasha Lyonne is absolutely perfect in her role as the naive cheerleader, Clea is Clea - I know the rumors, and her list of roles, but I can't help loving her - RuPaul Charles makes for a great, great, great Ex-homosexual trainer and Cathy Moriarty is an headmistress that I can'help but desiring to see as a Mistress (in the sense of dominatrix).
Trying to make you smile, this movies makes you realize how much is absurd the whole concept of "straightening the queer" by the means of behavioral modification...
It's far from being a "perfect movie" - most secondary characters are sketchy at best, but functional - but it's a good movie, funny and with a grace of his own. There's not much more one should ask for.
I recommend it with my whole heart.