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Did right-wing attacks on “Trainwreck” inspire John Russell Houser’s shooting rampage?

Was Amy Schumer the real target of John Russell Houser's rage?
Was Amy Schumer the real target of John Russell Houser’s rage?

John Russell Houser, who gunned down 11 moviegoers at a showing of Trainwreck in Lafayette, Louisiana Thursday night, killing two young women, was a volatile, violent, woman-hating, anti-Semitic, far-right loser given to dark and bitter diatribes against what he saw as cultural “immorality.”

It’s a safe bet that if Houser had stayed for the entire showing of Trainwreck, instead of pulling out his gun, he would not have enjoyed the film, a comedy about a young woman living an unapologetically “promiscuous” life in New York city, written by and starring Amy Schumer, a feminist comedian famous (or infamous, depending on whom you’re talking to) for her frankly sexual humor.

A more important question: Did Houser deliberately target viewers of Trainwreck as a sick protest against its “permissive” politics? And if so, was he inspired by attacks on the film from right-wing media and misogynists online?

Trainwreck has been a lightning rod for right-wing “moralists” since the first trailer for the film came out five months ago. A glance through the comments to the trailer on YouTube reveals months of sniping at the film by an assortment of angry misogynists decrying Trainwreck as “propaganda” and a celebration of “whores.”

“This is unbelievably degenerate,” one would-be cultural critic on YouTube wrote shortly after the trailer came out. “No respectable man would even touch an overweight whore.”

“Movies like this are the reason people can’t have normal, old fashioned relationships anymore,” another YouTuber complained. “Thank you Hollywood for yet another huge, stinking, steaming pile of crap contribution to society whose sole purpose is to teach women to act like men, be sluts and take relationships for granted.”

Still another attacked the film as subtle “propaganda” encouraging women to “behave like sluts” — even though Schumer’s character repents and gives up her “slutty” ways at the end. As this non-fan of Schumer saw it, the fact that the film has a happy ending

encourages the viewer to partake in her abominable behavior, because the message is that such behavior has no consequences: everything will go your way in the end. This gives young women a license to party, do drugs and whore around in their 20s, because they believe they can count on a Prince Charming to rescue them when the time is right. 

The apotheosis of this kind of, er, criticism comes not from some irate, anonymous YouTube commenter but from Armond White, movie reviewer for the paleoconservative National Review, who, in a review last week, blasted Schumer for turning “female sexual prerogative into shamelessness” and promoting “the degradation of sex.”

And he was just getting started:

Trainwreck should be a wake-up call for anyone — especially for any conservative — who thinks pop culture is guileless, harmless fun. …

Not really a sex comedy, Trainwreck is a comedy that uses sex to promote feminist permissiveness.

Like the angry YouTube commenters he almost seems to be cribbing his critique from, White is especially offended that Amy — it’s not clear if he’s talking about Schumer or the character she named after herself, or both — can be so unapologetically sexual without suffering “social stigma.”

As White sees it, Schumer is “a comedy demagogue who okays modern misbehavior.” Apparently confusing Trainwreck with the Chinese Cultural Revolution and Schumer with Madame Mao, White concludes that

Schumer doesn’t simply use humor for social readjustment; like all Comedy Central performers from Jon Stewart on down, she aims to acquire cultural power. … As the latest model of Comedy Central’s stealth comediennes (following Janeane Garofalo and Sarah Silverman), Schumer disguises a noxious cultural agenda as personal fiat.

Now, we don’t know if Houser was directly inspired by White’s antifeminist-diatribe-cum-movie-review; we don’t know if he even read it.

What we do know is that over-the-top attacks on feminism and feminists like his have helped to contribute to a widespread backlash, online and off, against outspoken women, a backlash that has both encouraged and excused attacks on, and outright harassment of, individual women who have challenged male cultural authority — from women daring to offer opinions about video games that offend misogynistic gamers to comedians like Schumer who challenge old-fashioned slut-shaming by joking unapologetically about female “promiscuity.”

No, movie reviews don’t cause terrorism, not by themselves, anyway. But John Russell Houser was a veritable rage bomb that had long been ready to explode, and “cultural critics” like White and his ideological fellow travellers online may well have inspired his choice of targets when he finally did.

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Carmen
Carmen
5 years ago

@Catalpa: I’m sorry I didn’t included asexuals in my post (I assume it’s a relatively small percentage of people who are asexuals but that’s no excuse for erasure). However, the point remains: asexuality (the absence of sexual attraction) is also a part of your identity; so why would you want to compromise it by having sex when you don’t want to (any more than someone who, deep down, believes sex should have some element of feeling)? Of course there is sex without love and love without sex (mechanically speaking–of course!). But should there be sex without SOME element of love (and I’m not talking “love for all time” necessarily; there is such a thing as “love for the night,” which can be just great too; whereas “I don’t really remember your name and now your hand is up my dress” or “I’m bored and feeling self-destructive so why not” or “you promise you’ll get me off first? Good, now go away” are not really the most fulfilling moments and can be damaging in the long-term, IMO). Also sorry about saying “psycho,” I did read the new comments policy (and I mean “psychopathic” rather than “psychotic”) and I maybe tend to bend the rules considering I’m a psycho myself (not of the psychopathic variety, and rarely of the psychotic variety either, but still); nevertheless, the point is taken. What should I say–there are psychopaths out there?

In any case, I didn’t mean to belittle you or erase your sexuality (which, as you can see, is also a big part of who you are). I have a friend who is asexual but biromantic (she introduced to the concept of heteroromantic, homoromantic, etc. btw–I think I might be heterosexual but biromantic or even homoromantic, not sure). She told me it caused problems with her and her life partner, as he wanted sex but she didn’t, and she felt bad about denying him something that he naturally wanted all the time but she had no interest in. That must have been really hard for both of them…he wouldn’t want to be the jerk pressuring her; neither would she want to deny him a sex life (honestly in that situation, maybe a sexually–but not romantically–open relationship? But then again, you are consigning your partner to only aromantic, or somewhat empty, sexual trysts, and possibly using other people for sex; it’s a quandary all right). My point was just that sexuality (whether it’s asexuality, homosexuality, or heterosexuality, and whatever form that takes) is a part of identity…I think that’s a big reason, quite apart from violence and stigma, that prostitution is so traumatizing.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

Casual sex is ok for some people, but I for one always wear a jacket and tie.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

@Shaenon:
Thank you for introducing me to Armond White. I am now giggling inanely whilst leafing through his writings.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Snorkmaiden,
I realize nobody was doing anything intentionally, but a lot of the posts had an air of reflection on how maybe casual sex isn’t such a good thing. Without the amendment that they were only speaking for themselves. Taken altogether, it sounded like the thread was starting to go in a stealth slut shaming direction and it was making me uncomfortable.

As I shared in the most recent open thread, I’ve gotten it from fellow feminists before. So if someone isn’t clear, I have no reason to assume if they don’t say they are only talking about their own sexuality, that’s all they’re talking about.

Oliver_C
Oliver_C
5 years ago

Armond White’s career trajectory comdemns him even more than his contrary reviews: this is somebody who ended up writing for the National Review.

Gipsz Jakab
Gipsz Jakab
5 years ago

For what it’s worth, it sounded to me like the discussion about casual sex wasn’t so much about it being inherently bad/damaging as about current sexual culture being prone to making it unfulfilling (of course, exceptions are not entirely uncommon).

Wetherby
Wetherby
5 years ago

@Shaenon

The man is a national treasure.

Don’t forget the jaw-dropping conclusion to his review of The King’s Speech:

The best scenes convey the indefinable awe that overcomes Logue, especially when King and Queen Mum visit the instructor’s modest home, surprising his unsuspecting wife (Jennifer Ehle). It’s one of the few on record to illustrate the conflicting admiration and unease of common British subjectivity—that weight of tradition that even made the punk band The Sex Pistols loyally pledge “God Save the Queen.”

I’d be prepared to bet a substantial sum of money that Armond White hadn’t actually listened to the lyrics of the Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save the Queen’ before he wrote that paragraph.

Then again, finding reasons not to take Armond White seriously isn’t so much a case of shooting fish in a barrel as harpooning a whale in a swimming pool.

Carmen
Carmen
5 years ago

@Everyone who commented on my comments (sorry I couldn’t sort you all out, I’m too tired, feel free to skim for your response as it is broken up into paragraphs):

Okay, Alan, I really want to like that last one-line comment so much (with an actual like button). Out of all these comments it made me smile.

I think it was Abby Hoffman who said “the problem with liberals is they see all sides of an argument, and it leads to paralysis.” That’s what I feel like sometimes.

*Trigger warning for personal stuff, and deep talk about casual sex culture and rape culture*

I’m exhausted, been up all night after a bout of sudden-onset strep (very bad–I had to crawl to the corner doctor here in Mexico for a penicillin injection), I think at least partly brought on by my (intense) worrying over being pregnant after a terrible casual sexual encounter (which I know is personal TMI, possibly also taboo as per new comment policy?, but perhaps relevant to where I was coming from when writing my comments) in which I did insist on protection but the guy refused to admit he’d finished pretty much immediately or remove said protection until…well, it was too late, and I had to get the morning after pill, after worrying for some time (and him insisting we “try again”–birth-control free–“just take the morning after pill!” Ugh! Ugh, to any guy that says that! That thing made me bleed for three weeks once). Then I was late, and all worried, and alone in a foreign country, with not a lot of money and where abortion is difficult to obtain, and why oh why did I let that guy get into my pants in the first place (when I had been so, so diligent of late)? Mainly because I was in a different town (wouldn’t see him again) and somehow reverted back to old habits of thinking it would help me get over a recent heartbreak (while knowing full well it wouldn’t, if I had bothered asking myself) and because he was extremely pushy, which can work on the lonely (and also good-looking, truth be told, if a terrible kisser). These are all the least graphic details possible–if I wrote the full thing out if would probably make you all cringe (and ladies, wince in understanding)–but I’ll spare you that. Suffice it to say it was bad, and not something I’ve done in a while (or will do ever again). In fact one of the reasons I’m moving back home now is to look for a partner (finally; not because I couldn’t be in an LTR with someone from another country, but because I’m not sure I want to settle down in another country, that’s all).

But yes. Worries about pregnancy SUCK. I was actually looking up using OTC ulcer medication to induce abortion, that’s how worried I was (and now, blessedly, am not). So that might give you a clue as to the mindset I was in when writing those comments (not that I take anything back that I said in them; in fact, this kind of experience is largely the reason I don’t have casual sex anymore; although from his approach of course I should have reasonably known he’d be a terrible partner, the very same could have happened–probably would have happened–has happened–with anyone else, even someone with a much subtler approach).

I think someone on here said how being single is about being able to do what you want, not sleep with whom you want. That is totally true. I love being single and I also am scared of the idea of being in a relationship, not because I don’t want to compromise but because I don’t want anyone to have any ideas of what I should be to them (I don’t want to fulfill anyone’s role of “wife” in their mind–any preconceived notions–I just want to be Carmen; and if they’ll be my partner I’ll do anything for them, if they’ll do anything for me). But if I want companionship–sex, love, etc.–several other people have also said “if it’s good, why wouldn’t it happen again?” and “if it’s bad, I mainly just feel disappointed” and I agree with that. There are several problems with this simple approach though. Sometimes it’s good, but the relationship could never really work compatibility-wise, and this leads to heartbreak; so there has to be a foundation beyond good sex (because feelings DO happen with ongoing sex, even if it’s not the best; and if it is–if there is lots of genuine attraction there–then even stronger feelings happen, and even stronger heartache when it ends); and when it’s bad, if it’s simply bad because well, turns out one of you wasn’t so great in bed, or maybe the spark was not quite there as you thought it was, that’s one thing, no big deal, but if it’s bad because of how your partner treated you–or because you slept with someone you knew you shouldn’t have, deep down, self-destructively–that can be really bad (and just make you feel bad, for a while, especially if there was coercion involved).

Someone else said bad sex was basically just someone not fulfilling your needs very well and there is no way to know that beforehand (a much shorter version of what I was trying to say, thanks). However I think that it tends to be more one-sided than not–when it comes to whose needs are not being fulfilled in casual sex (women’s, for all the reasons I outlined)–and that is what I meant by our notions of masculinity short-changing men; it’s supposed to be men who are always just trying to get sex out of anything halfway decent that moves, regardless of how they feel about him or her; men are supposed to be always up for it; push for it; men who don’t care about how their partner feels about it (in some social tropes, unfortunately); who don’t have feelings afterward if it was good (hence the whole joke about women–but not men–being mad about not calling the day after). It’s men who are supposed to separate sex and love more. Personally I think this is just all part and parcel of societal bullshit…in my experience it goes both ways. There are plenty of guys I’ve slept with and never thought about again (or if I have, it was with distaste; some of them, just nothing) and some I’ve thought of with affection for what it was: one night, or a fling. If there’s something special there (which sometimes there is for one but not the other, I know) a guy feels it as much as a girl (and should; this whole idea that he doesn’t shortchanges men’s humanity). And he can be hurt be it even more deeply if it’s abused, IMO. Which is why there are so, so many men who are so bitter about women regarding relationship stuff, even without money in the picture (just about break-ups, cheating, etc.); women experience all of that stuff too, plus all the violence on top of it…I guess about the only thing men experience more of is rejection, which must be really hard on them; but the flip side of that is constant propositioning (and more menacingly harassment–not to mention, of course, the aforementioned violence), which is tiring too. I really wish that whole gendered pursuit-prey dynamic could change.

Knowing this about men–how sensitive they are–also makes short-term, passionate relationships more difficult for me too. I hate to hurt people, but I also hate to get hurt myself (and so part of me has reasons for wanting to date down or keep men at arm’s length). I remember some random stranger warning me about this when I was working in a bar once (I was very surprised and, after a while, offended; he told me I was “very beautiful” and to “use it for good and not for evil;” at the time I decided he was being very presumptuous, as I didn’t consider myself beautiful, and felt if it were true at all mainly it had been used against me). But men can be sensitive too, and actually it can be worse perhaps to treat someone really well, with real kindness and sexual heat, and absolutely no intention of staying with them for the long-term (even if you tell them that upfront, as I do now); and you can get hurt too, when they leave you to avoid getting heartbroken (or when you leave them and they are heartbroken). This is why people get into long-term relationships–even people who are a bit scared of commitment, like me–because the heartache, of hurting self and just as much others (if a moral person) in short-term relationships is too much; we aren’t robots so it’s hard for us (or maybe, in that particular relationship, for our partners) to just “switch off” feelings; casual sex is not that great or fulfilling and becomes more dangerous the longer you have it (with more people–more unknown variables in the already-risky world of strangers and sex and feelings altogether).

In the end a lot of people compromise on the freedom of a single life for the benefits of having good sex (which is great) and romantic companionship (which is great) and affectionate partnership, someone to always be there for you (which is great). And hopefully that person will compromise too and you will both get some of what you want from life (and it won’t be all about pleasing just one or the other of you–and if you want kids, and they come along, you’ll deal with that together too; but they’re by no means necessary). In the end people compromise the freedom of a single life because of loneliness. And those who can make great communities of friends sometimes find they don’t have to do this (and, I wouldn’t be surprised, get better at navigating the casual sex deal, as well; perhaps with fewer of the hang-ups of insecure youth).

And my hesitance about commitment is not just about not wanting to give up freedoms; it’s about (as it is for many people) getting very hurt when I was younger (in a long relationship with someone who I was deeply in love with and was physically violent to me). Even what I would think of as less-traumatic break-ups can be very traumatizing if it means the end of love (and make people shy away from love again, especially with commitment-phobes like me, which I can’t blame them for). Again, this is probably better on the “personal comments” threads but sometimes hard to wade in there with this stuff out of nowhere; and I don’t want to sound like some kind of cold, calculated man…eater, now do I? 😉 My point is that in the end–even after all this–I have decided that a long-term relationship just makes more sense, is more personally fulfilling, and is safer, than casual sex if I want companionship and sex, and less heart-breaking than short-term relationships (and after all, I hope I have learned enough not to fall for someone abusive again, or to see those signs early on…I was very young then, time to give love another chance!).

In no way was I trying to slut-shame. I would never do that.

Someone else also said that what’s nice about this site (and this thread) is we can talk about this issue without moralizing (which tends to come from the right, anyway). I agree.

Someone else also said that this was all irrelevant to the shooting (in response to that I can only say that I think the thread had opened up to issues present in the movie well before my comments, hadn’t it? I think we can all agree that the shooting is a bad thing; we were discussing the double standards regarding men and women’s sexuality which create these kinds of moral extremists in the first place).

I don’t want to slut-shame anyone. I just think we have yet to have a real sexual revolution. The sexual revolution of the sixties (as has been written about exhaustively by feminists of all stripes) was very male-oriented and was all about men’s increased sexual access to women, rather than women powerfully owning their sexuality. I know almost every time I’ve tried to powerfully own mine it’s been yanked out of my grasp (but maybe I am vulnerable that way, and other women are not). However, in the way all this has panned out–the drug-and-alcohol fueled youth hook-up culture being the love child of the flower children–I would tend to agree. And now we have violent mainstream het pornography to make the conditioning all that much worse for everyone.

I’m sure plenty of people on here (plenty of women even!) have had casual encounters they don’t regret a bit (and no haunted pussies either!). And I am sure that the existence of men (and women!) who can have wonderful, feeling-free sex is realer than the existence of unicorns (I am sure of it!). And I know there are ragingly sexual aromantics out there whose points of view are valid and I only hope they are getting it on with people who know there is no chance in heaven they will have any feelings for them (as that only seems fair, to be honest with your partner about something like that), and that’s fine. And maybe even the majority of women out there have completely undamaging casual sex all the time, and I am an outlier.

However someone else said that the majority of people they knew into casual sex had drug, alcohol, or commitment issues, and while that didn’t necessarily sit right with me (as you think automatically there must be some hint of shaming to it–those are shameful issues to have, right?) they are absolutely right. I am young enough to have been part of the current campus culture, and bar culture, and club culture; and in my experience (personal and otherwise) it’s absolutely true, yes. Young people especially do use drugs and alcohol to blot out their feelings about casual sex (so maybe it would be better among older and more sober people after all).

And, in my experience, many girls–from high school on–feel pressured into sex acts, and this continues into college (at parties as well as in boys’ bedrooms, etc;); lots of men (older and younger) take advantage of young women, and lots of young women have sex in a self-destructive way, because they want male attention, or affection, and think this is the only way to get it (or because of abuse when they were younger). I think young women who are vulnerable for whatever reason–growing up impoverished; from a broken home, a bad school, a bad neighborhood; mentally ill; body issues; etc.–and there are so many reasons in our sexist society for young women to be vulnerable, especially when it comes to sex–are more likely to fall into this self-destructive bad casual sex pattern. And it happens to men too (being taken advantage or even raped, in hook-up culture; it can be bad all around).

However I know there are plenty of other subcultures and countercultures apart from the youth hook-up culture (which is fairly mainstream), and also lots of independent autonomous adults practicing casual sex, so there are no doubt many other viewpoints…I am just hesitant to say that the so-called “sexual revolution” of the 60’s and 70’s really benefited women all that much, in the end. There’s plenty of reading to be done in that area, if anyone wants.

And my points about why casual sex is overall a losing prospect for women stand; they were taken from a study that polled men and women, after all (on their feelings about casual sex), and those were the top three reasons women named as barring them from pursuing casual sex as much as men (increased physical risks–of pregnancy and STD–rape or assault, and low chance of achieving climax). Of course, seeing how the assholes come crawling out of the woodwork to snipe at an innocent movie like Amy’s, I would add stigma to that myself (if we still care about such things; many do. I hate it when boyfriends ask about my number of sexual partners, as I don’t have STDs or kids, don’t do that anymore and don’t think it should matter–and don’t want to have to bring up my history with rape to justify it when they inevitably balk).

I have mixed feelings about this sort of thing, to be honest. Part of me wants to say, “Of course there can be great casual sex for women in this society, why do women always have to be the victim,” and part of me wants to acknowledge my life experience and the overwhelming statistics of women’s victimization and encourage women (particularly young women) to be careful. It’s like “Rape as Backstory” as a trope (that people hate, because it’s thrown in to explain a female character’s “angst” or make her more “interesting”)…I hate it more because when it’s explored, it should be explored fully; or, if there’s no time for that, at least be revealed in a surprising way. However, if anything there should be more, not less, “Rape as Backstory,” because it is so common, even in the US (one out of five women, many of them victims more than one time), and it needs to be in people’s minds as a social issue, not as a prurient thrill in a character backstory (the literary equivalent of rubber-necking, but worse–flashback rubber-necking)…no. “Women in Refrigerators” (violence against women as instigator of male violence and male revenge story) I don’t like, yes. But “Rape as Backstory” gets too much criticism from women who understandably want to downplay the victim angle and play up the strength angle of women, but who in doing so risk erasing very real victimization. I feel the same way about casual sex, I guess (cautiously optimistic, but also cautious).

Somebody else on here said she was alarmed by the high rates of rape on the BDSM circuit…I have read about it too and am not in the least bit surprised. In my opinion (again, not moralizing, just my opinion), there is nothing the slightest bit edgy or transgressive about BDSM; it is the fleshed-out embodiment of how society has long seen heterosexual sex (as a dominance/submission game); and why would it surprise anyone that men who like to pretend to get off on violence and domination might actually get off on violence and domination (and that women who have been conditioned, through various factors–sometimes violence–to like submission should get involved in it either)? You might say, in fact, that a lot of these men merely pretend to pretend to like they get off on dominance and submission (and the fraction of the heterosexual scene that is female domme/male sub doesn’t disprove anything; simple role reversals of age-old oppressions don’t break any new ground). And the very fact that some of this stuff is consented too but not other stuff (who knows if she ever said the safe word, right?) makes it an even more perfect stalking ground for budding rapists. It’s hard enough, in a world that presumes women’s consent in the absence of a loud “no,” to get a rape conviction (or even to get a majority of people on your side, should it occur under less than the best of circumstances); and that’s with everyday rape. When it comes to BDSM? Forget it! Try prosecuting that (or even telling anyone outside the life about it). Not surprising at all. And I am not going to make any apologies for that opinion to pro-BDSMers who might be on here.

And I am well aware that we SHOULD be able to have all the casual heterosexual sex we want, and be treated well (even if our partners are people who physiologically get off more easily than us–they can be still be considerate), and not be raped, and be empowered, and be respected, and not have bad memories, and not HAVE to be in relationships if we want to have sex or even romance. But that’s not the kind of society we live in (a clan-based, communal, matriarchal, bonobo-like society where women raise the young and have sex with all the males, and nobody really knows whose baby is whose, and everyone kind of has sex with each other, both hetero and homo, whenever anyone feels bad, and there’s no fighting or killing or raping hardly ever–the women don’t allow it, they band together and kick the aggressors out); that’s what I mean by the inflammatory term “protection rackets…” But that’s hyperbole too; that’s not all a relationship is to me. There is something more sacred than that in it, if I am to be honest (even if I never find a good one again). And I am sure that even in a Utopian bonobo-community individuals would still gravitate toward one another and there would still be strong pairings, same-sex and opposite-sex, even if they did mess around occasionally (with absolutely no jealous repercussions).

And I also did say in there too that from all the reviews of this movie the ending seems a little disappointing (I think I compared it to “Taming of the Shrew”), even if the message is that she did just kind of get the same point I just belabored making (which points, I think, to my mixed feelings about this capitulation, within the patriarchy)…so no, definitely not slut-shaming.

I think that’s covered it: not slut-shaming, just conflicted. And worried, for the mental health and safety of young women (and young men, and for the state of romantic and sexual love in the world–asexuals and aromantics notwithstanding).

I am taking my medicine now and going to sleep…I am pretty sure most of this epic comment made no sense…I will find out tomorrow, I guess…

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

You know the phrase “Sex is like pizza: When it’s good, it’s really good, and when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good!”?

I don’t think that person has ever actually had bad sex. At least, not sex that was bad for them.

I don’t think they’ve had bad pizza, either.

As for me, I’ve had both…and I can honestly confirm that yes, they suck. Enough to make one wish one hadn’t bothered, but not enough to rise to the level of “Oh God, I’ve sinned and now I’m going to hell.”

Amused
5 years ago

Confession time: I didn’t like “Trainwreck” for the same reasons I didn’t like “Hangover”. I’m not into this genre. With all due respect, I don’t think it makes me “right-wing”. I don’t care how people live their lives in reality; mostly, because it’s none of my business. I don’t think that hard drinking and promiscuity make anyone “damaged”, unmarriageable, or a bad person. But as long as we are talking about art, and especially comedy, I just don’t get the idea of promiscuity or binge drinking being their own punchline. And, I frankly hate the fact that now liking, or not liking, this movie has become a matter of politics; that if someone doesn’t like it, people who do immediately take it as a personal affront and a statement about their private lives. I’m a live-and-let-live kind of person; but I just can’t force myself to like this movie, sorry.

Linux
Linux
5 years ago

Sleeping with tons of people isnt a good thing….
if you cant respect the people you sleep with.

So dear guys who critize this movie; just dont have casual sex and stop whining, idiots.

alaisvex
alaisvex
5 years ago

@Amused,

If you didn’t like the movie because you just didn’t find it funny or didn’t think that it was well-made, that doesn’t make you a right-winger. However, I don’t think that David’s post was attacking all people who criticized the movie. He was attacking right-wingers who criticized the movie on the grounds that it was feminist propaganda encouraging all women everywhere to have tons of casual sex, which they think is also terrible because it makes women delay marriage. He’s not making liking or disliking this movie into a political thing. He’s writing about people who are explicitly turning their dislike of this movie and Amy Schumer into a political, anti-feminist thing.

@Carmen,

I think someone on here said how being single is about being able to do what you want, not sleep with whom you want. That is totally true.

That was me, and I do agree with what you’re saying about some people not wanting to give up the benefits of singleness for the benefits of a relationship because they’re scared due to past bad relationships and because they don’t feel that short, passionate relationships work out well and want to make a long-term commitment to someone about whom they actually really care. In fact, I’d say that I agree with pretty much all of what you wrote.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

@Amused

Yeah, like Alais said, it’s not about disliking the movie so much as disliking the movie for a very specific reason (“FEMINISTS ARGLE BARGLE DUDERAGE”). I can’t stand rom-coms at all, myself, they bore the living shit out of me. =P So I think we’re all on the same page here.

sn0rkmaiden
5 years ago

@Carmen,

((((((hugs)))))) if you want them, it sounds like you’ve been on an emotional roller coaster of late.

ColeYote
ColeYote
5 years ago

Armond White is friggin’ ridiculous, man. To directly quote his wikipedia page:

“… known for his provocative and idiosyncratic film criticism, which some have characterized as contrarian.”

Which is pretty much the diplomatic way of saying “troll!”

jupitaur
5 years ago

Grumpy: “Spock’s advice has now become so normalized that the term “permissive” has become almost totally obsolete.”

I wish that were true. But if you look at polls, loads of parents still think you should physically punish kids and that kids “get away with too much” with other parents.

Any discussion of spanking ends up with a bunch of commenters saying if they hadn’t been spanked they would have been literally Satanic children. And one-upping each other on how badly they were whipped and laughing as if child abuse is funny.

freemage
5 years ago

Pandapool — The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me “Banana”, “Jackie” or whatever) | July 26, 2015 at 10:24 pm

@Nequam

Also Coraline, which is surprising.

My guess on Coraline is that he liked the insertion of the neighbor boy, who wasn’t part of Gaiman’s original book, because ultimately the girl needed a boy to save her.

NickNameNick
NickNameNick
5 years ago

Armond White is easily one of the most intolerable people on the planet.

It isn’t even that I disagree with his reviews – because I come across plenty and am nonetheless able to see the value in it, usually because those critics are able to explain why they thought a film was good or bad based on it’s own merits. White, on the other hand, will make entire reviews simply admonishing anyone who’d like the film or ranting about the politics within the story then ever how the two interconnect.

His review on Toy Story 3 wasn’t bad because he disliked it, it was bad because his recollection of the movie is completely unlike everyone else’s experience. He gets several characters’ names wrong and is aggrieved by all the scenes involving Barbie and Ken because…product placement, I guess?

I’ve known people who defended him and it just pisses me off when they do – they’re essentially enabling the most antagonistic form of contrarianism imaginable, because they mistake it with “going against the grain.” White was known to just love The Hurt Locker up until many other critics also sung praises for it, then he claimed it was an overrated piece of shit. He likes Transformers because other critics strongly dislike it and it’s obvious when you read the review that his praises are pretty paint-by-numbers.

As Wetherby pointed out, his habit of forcing references to one song or another is just another thing to aggravate – especially when it’s clear he doesn’t understand the meaning of the song, or that it in no way compliments the film he’s reviewing.

SomethingAwful did an article ages back that, even to this day, is a pretty accurate summary of how terrible he is:

http://old-www.somethingawful.com/d/awful-links/armond-white.php

Aerinea
Aerinea
5 years ago

Did I really just see a paragraph in a Teal Deer that was pure kink shaming? Wow.

Carmen
Carmen
5 years ago

Oh man, the internet. Shit like “Teal Dear” and “kink shaming.” I am so done.

I was trying to respond to everyone’s comments. I specifically said to scroll down for your answer. Don’t read if you think it’s an off-colored fawn.

For the attention deficit generation: it is tough–and perhaps nigh impossible–to be a(llowed to be) a fully liberated, empowered sexual woman under patriarchy.

And yes, YES! Absolute kink-shaming of the kind of people who go into BDSM in order to abuse others. I never said that is everyone–at all–but that is what under discussion here (which I didn’t even bring up, btw, just responded to, agreeing with what another poster said).

Any of you oh-so-progressives who have bought the left-wing Kool-aid ever think you can shame the shamers? Hmmm? Like, I am not even allowed to give a criticism of the practice of BDSM, including all the rapists in it (and how they like to hide out in it, considering how murky consent issues can become), or the fact that excuse-making for hideously abusive practices makes it difficult to prosecute (mostly men) for domestic violence (’cause, like, someone women are into that)? You know the Supreme Court of the USA (which maybe you don’t live in, but I don’t really care) does not uphold “consent” as a justification for serious bodily injury?

I am not against ritualistic sexual practices that bring communities together, blow off some steam, and otherwise don’t harm anyone. And far from convinced that’s what the BSDM scene is.

We need more kink-shaming. And with that, I am out. This is why I am done with liberalism (not only the paralysis, but the reframing–of the oldest, most conservative stances, such as violence against women–i.e., “sex work” and “BDSM”–as liberal and progressive). It requires us to take something which should be intuitive and subject it to such scrutiny in order to please our liberal masters (yes, the fact that the vast majority of women in prostitution the world over report that they don’t like it should have NOTHING to do with the “sex work” empowerment movement, nor statistics surrounding violence and sex trafficking actually rising in prostitution with the impunity afforded by legalization…which legalizes pimps, madams, and people who are essentially traffickers too, as well as clients, not just the workers themselves…essentially the whole friggin’ industry…but nooooo, can’t start “shaming!” Then I am a SWERF! How long till I become a TERF? Can we somehow work the already painful acronym of BDSM into some-kind of critical-thought-shaming clever newfangled one?).

The left is so corrupt, as evidenced by this shit…it’s painful not only how it’s been so co-opted by those who would seek to uphold the oppression of patriarchal mores (and women’s place as sexual objects and objects of violence), but that it’s happened in the name of “feminism” and right under our noses. But then again, most leftists are the biggest hypocrites (well, along with neocons, right? Pretending to believe in stuff to sucker a voting base)? Man…I am so done with this kind of stuff. “Kink-shaming!” (You mean rapist-shaming? I think you’ll see that’s what I was doing, if you do a careful, high-school level re-read of that paragraph). Blargh.

No one has critical thinking skills anymore, and no one knows how to think outside the paradigm. It’s amazing…

Teal Deer! Teal Deer: It’s okay to criticize sacred leftist institutions like BDSM and the sex industry without being shamed for being a shamer (ha ha ha!). It’s impossible to make strides when the left is so intellectually bankrupt! And, it’s hard to be a sexually liberated woman in society, as much as we might wish it weren’t. We haven’t achieved the fantasy world where it’s possible yet for a woman (or possibly anyone) to be truly sexually liberated and not run into considerable trouble.

Goodbye, all!!! I am still super-sick, with no AC and no fridge and none of your lovely first-world amenities, so I am literally flaming…out.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

And people were acting like I was reading too much into it when I caught a slut shaming whiff off Carmen’s post earlier.

Yeah.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
5 years ago

Basically what Carmen is saying is that we need to shame BDSM people because people get in it to abuse people?

http://37.media.tumblr.com/bd738c7a0b6f6eb08e3e18156052f080/tumblr_n6yxsl00qH1rtmoc5o1_500.gif

And then they start complaining about progressives and left-wing Kool Aid drinkers. IDK. I didn’t read all of it. I just got disgusted, but at least people won’t have to read that shit.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

It’s okay to criticize sacred leftist institutions like BDSM and the sex industry without being shamed for being a shamer (ha ha ha!).

Uhh… What? I have literally never heard either of those things be referred to as “Leftist institutions.” Or “Leftist” at all. Again: What?

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

Seriously, was that total word salad to anybody else? Taking two things that are, in my experience, pretty damn neutral on the left-right spectrum, and using them to go on a rant about how we’re all stupid evil lib’ruls… ???

Alais
5 years ago

@Carmen,

While you say that you’re only shaming people who use kink as a cover for abuse and rape, it sounds like you’re shaming everyone else involved too when you talk about shaming the BDSM community, “including the rapists” and imply that people involved in the community as subs who do enjoy it and who aren’t being abused or raped are somehow “drinking the koolaid” because they feel as though you’re implying that their sexual choices mean that they’re broken.

AltoFronto
AltoFronto
5 years ago

Geoffrey Chaucer’s Wife of Bath was advocating sexual permissiveness in the 14th century, and nobody goes after that.

skiriki
5 years ago

:O

http://media.giphy.com/media/11c2hRHwmvgFOg/giphy.gif

I’ll saddle my nopetopus and ride to sunset. Not cool to kink-shame. And then the rest of it… noooooope. 10 ft pole, 15 ft pole, ain’t no pole long enough for me to stir the rest of it.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

Like, I am not even allowed to give a criticism of the practice of BDSM, including all the rapists in it (and how they like to hide out in it, considering how murky consent issues can become),

This part is particularly hilarious given all the stuff I’ve read about the BDSM community and how practically obsessed it is with consent. There is no murkiness whatsoever, just willful ignorance by certain practitioners who quickly get ousted from the group.

indifferentsky
5 years ago

It is my understanding that BDSM is the one area where consent discussions are a requirement, and thus has a positive effect on the understanding of these concepts for all of us.

BDSM if it’s mostly women wanting to be hurt can be discussed and critiqued, but it would come down to people asking themselves questions if the information appeals to them. “Why do I want to be dominated”. that’s PERSONAL. and why would anyone think shame was a good idea? What a terrible way to approach that.

So if the understanding that shaming is ridiculous , useless and counter productive makes me a dumb liberal, I guess I’m a dumb liberal. Shaming just satisfies some emotional need the shamers have to lash out and abuse people. I think there is less harm in shaming than there is in letting people think that their attempted emotional abuse of others is valid social change or good argumentation.

Fuck that noise.

In a similar vein, I don’t like the idea that as soon as there is equal partnership and deep emotional intimacy in the bedroom that’s “vanilla”. But that might just be due to lack of available good verbiage to describe non kink. Being a feminist though I value equality in that setting and a label that implies it’s “boring” seems like a slight to something that should be heralded among feminists.

THEN AGAIN, is saying that making a statement that BDSM is inferior? If anyone takes it that way please understand that is not a shaming tactic and maybe just my personal opinion when it comes to sharing intimacy. I guess I just consider kinks as getting off and other sexual practices to be sharing love and intimacy, and that might be where I’m wrong. I can be wrong. It’s just that intimacy does not appear to be what’s highlighted with kinks. I am more making the point it’s apples and oranges, not vanillas, so hopefully I can get the benefit of the doubt here that this is not covert shaming.

RE the movie people made excellent points here about being drunk and uninhibited to being a punchline itself. I’ve never found that part of Amy’s stuff funny, but a lot of her other stuff is imo.

Aerinea
Aerinea
5 years ago

@indifferentsky I’m pretty sure the term vanilla was chosen due to its universality for those who enjoy ice cream, not as an insult. That doesn’t stop some jerks from using it as such, but I don’t think it was meant to mean boring. Besides, really good vanilla is awesome, whether it’s ice cream or sex.

There is intimacy in kink, and it comes from the level of trust that has to exist between partners. It just doesn’t always look like intimacy to those who just aren’t into that sort of thing.

alaisvex
alaisvex
5 years ago

Regarding casual sex…it seems that women’s feelings on their own experiences with it vary a lot. I’ve known people who’ve felt about their experiences the way that Carmen does and who’ve had issues with either receiving no respect from their partners’ or having emotions complicate things. But then I’ve also known a lot of women who’ve had satisfying, non-complicated experiences with it. Hell, I’ve had both kinds of experiences with it. When I first started having sex, it was complicated, even though it was casual. On the one hand, I really did want to experiment and try things. On the other hand, I know that sometimes I did things just because cultural messages made me feel as though I owed those guys an orgasm because I’d made them hard. The second set of feelings made things complicated initially, but once I did get more confident and better at openly conveying what I wanted and started finding guys who did care about what I wanted and whether or not I was enjoying things, it started feeling good. So, at the end of the day, I don’t know. I think that misogyny can complicate and infect both casual sex and relationship sex, but I also think that women can (to use Carmen’s phrase) “powerfully own their own sexuality” within the context of heterosexual sex, whether it’s casual or within a relationship, once they figure out what they want and get good at picking out men (or rather, avoiding ones who raise important red flags).

AltoFronto
AltoFronto
5 years ago

@indifferentsky. Good comments. 🙂 But I would say that it would be incorrect to generalise that there is no intimacy in all kink.

If it’s not your thing, it’s not your thing… but I’ve heard lots of kinksters describe an extreme bond of intimacy with their partners (often spouses) during BDSM play.

There are also lots of forms of “vanilla” sex that don’t involve much intimacy beyond the being-naked-and-mutual-touching part. It’s not as if no-strings-orgasm-having is exclusively the realm of one broad umbrella category of human sexual behaviour.

I dunno where the assumption comes from that intimacy = vanilla, or vice-versa, but that’s probably rooted in the same kind of misapprehensions that people had (and perhaps continue to believe) around the mythological Homosexual of yore. I.e. the myth that if it’s socially “deviant”, it can’t be wholesome, pleasant or emotionally fulfilling.

@Aerinea – Yes. Vanilla’s just a popular flavour preference, and shouldn’t reflect badly on anyone who chooses it as their favourite.

To expand on the analogy… I guess the thing to bear in mind is that it’s kind of rude for anyone to go “eeeeww, I can’t believe you like [flavour combo]” when it’s your scoop and it’s well within the range of an Acceptable Ice-cream Parlour Transaction, and you’re just there to enjoy a tasty dessert in peace.
That said, it might also be valid to question the sale of Human Breast Milk Ice-cream,both as an ethical thought experiment or as pertaining to how it would work in practice. Care should perhaps be taken to have an informed discussion on it, but not to be judgmental about those who safely produce and consume it.
Ice-cream made with the blood of ritually-slaughtered infants and illegally-poached rhino parts would deserve to be met with utter disgust and condemnation, with the acknowledgement that its appearance in an Ice-cream Parlour wouldn’t really have any bearing on the sale of all the other, non-evil flavours of ice-cream, except inasmuch as the Parlour (porn, the scene) could be considered a venue where all these types of ice-cream exist in separate tubs.

Sorry, that got pretty contrived there.
Preference = ok.
Talking about sociological, ethical and legal aspects of consensual, but perhaps unconventional or extreme human behaviour = ok and interesting when careful to avoid kink-shaming and misinformation.
Illegal and non-consensual forms of sexual activity are never acceptable, and we can openly express contempt for their practice as much as we like, but it shouldn’t call the activities of consenting adults into question except inasmuch as the surrounding culture can be said to present conditions for the sale of the Evil ice-cream.

Feel free to comment, disagree, etc. I’m not an authority, and I probably shouldn’t analogize whilst tired. 😛

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ Altofronto

Ice-cream made with the blood of ritually-slaughtered infants and illegally-poached rhino parts would deserve to be met with utter disgust and condemnation

Really? Uh-oh, I need another ‘Dragon’s Den’ idea sharpish.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
5 years ago

In a similar vein, I don’t like the idea that as soon as there is equal partnership and deep emotional intimacy in the bedroom that’s “vanilla”.

Vanilla is delicious, tho? And there’s different types of vanilla, like French vanilla ice cream, American vanilla ice cream, Italian vanilla gelato which is a whole ‘nother ball park – and, I mean, there’s not a person who really hates vanilla. Vanilla is delicious on its own, it’s just that some people like it better with ball gags and knife play sometimes, that’s all.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

Illegal and non-consensual forms of sexual activity are never acceptable

With you on the non-consensual of course but not necessarily on the illegal.

Plenty of times and places where gay sex for example was/is illegal for example; and there are types of BDSM practice where everyone is a willing party with full capacity but the acts are still illegal [cf R v Brown and Others (the ‘Spanner’ case)]

Oliver_C
Oliver_C
5 years ago

I’ve seen DVDs that contain just the movie, with no bonus material (outtakes, interviews, etc), referred to as “vanilla” DVDs. The derogatory use of the word really grates.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

Ack. BDSM. A subject which I am far too willing to teal dear on, because the intersection of feminist thought and BDSM thought is fascinating.

(Background: I’ve been participating in the London kink scene for a little short of a decade now, off and on. I’m hardly a central figure there but more than a few people know my name. If you know an EJ in that scene, it’s probably me. Hi there!)

I agree that there’s a language gap to describe things properly; I think it’s partially because there is little shared experience to form a shared language, and partly because there is nothing that kinksters love more than arguing about nuances of meaning of words.

Most kinksters, like most gay people, grow up in a normative environment in which kink is very much othered. Traditionally people repress the desires until it ruins their first marriage, but nowadays thanks to the internet a lot of people are getting used to it much earlier. If you ask a kinkster about non-kinky romance, sex or intimacy their answer will often be something along the lines of “I never found it fulfilling” or “it just wasn’t for me” or “I thought I was frigid until I discovered kink”, much like a gay person’s answer would be. As a result, kinksters will tend to use the term “vanilla” for exactly that type of unfulfilling, bland experience, because that’s what they experienced non-kinky stuff as being.

Also like the gay community, there is a often perception of smugness and superiority by people outside that community. I will leave it to each individual to judge to what extent this perception is valid.

There is, however, no similar experience in the other direction. Very few people get raised in a kinky environment and decide that it just isn’t for them. (A lot of people’s initial experience of kink tends to be too hard and deep, after which they’ll scale back to a comfortable level of exposure, but very few people will go entirely vanilla afterwards.) Therefore, there is no widely accepted term for “I tried kinky but it isn’t for me; I prefer there to be no power dynamic in my romance and no endorphin play in my sex.” At best, the terms for this are very normative: “Normal”, “Non-Kinky”, et cetera.

Of course, dividing the world into kinky and non-kinky is absurd. There are as many ideal relationship styles as there are people in the world. I’ve met people who think having sex with the woman on top is kinky, and I’ve met people who are surprised to hear that breath play is considered such. Even saying “kinky” is meaningless, because there are many kinks in the world and not everyone enjoys all of them. For example, within London the rope community is almost a separate community rather than a subset of the kink scene.

As such, I prefer to think not of “kinky” and “vanilla” people, but of a-la-carte-relationship people and bespoke-relationship people. The latter group assume that because you’re having a relationship, things A, B and C must happen. The former group are comfortable sitting down and saying, “Listen, I really like A and want lots of it, but can we avoid C please? Oh, you really like C? Shall we negotiate a compromise? Oh, it seems we can’t. Well, let’s not date, but let’s definitely be good friends because we have a lot in common anyway.” There’s no reason why this sort of negotiation can’t happen about things like children or cuddling or dual-income-versus-stay-at-home-parent rather than use of titles or eye contact restrictions. There’s also no reason why it can’t involve picking a little from each column.

Orion
5 years ago

This part is particularly hilarious given all the stuff I’ve read about the BDSM community and how practically obsessed it is with consent. There is no murkiness whatsoever, just willful ignorance by certain practitioners who quickly get ousted from the group.

Oh, how I wish this were true. Just as often, it’s willful ignorance by certain practitioners who run the group. Or by practitioners who move undetected in the group with the exact tricks predators use to infiltrate any other group.

[Disclaimer: this post is about the “BDSM community,” by which I mean BDSM clubs, BDSM parties, BDSM social events (like “munches”) and the like. It’s not about BDSM itself or about people in BDSM relationships.]

Every BDSM community I am familiar with has a huge problem with rape and sexual abuse. It would be kind of shocking if it didn’t, because kinksters grow up in the same culture as everyone else, including exposure to rape culture. Kinksters spend a lot more time talking about “consent” than mainstream society does, and I’m sure that does help, but rapists are perfectly capable of mouthing the words. Like every community, the BDSM community has predators. Worse, there are practical problems that make it more difficult to deal with them.

There are many incentives for people who were victimized within the community not to go to the police. They may not want their kinks publicly known; in some places their own consensual practices may be illegal, and nobody wants police scrutinizing the group.

Survivors also have incentives not to speak up within the community. The BDSM scene in any given city is a pretty small world; if you break friendships or burn bridges at one club, you can’t necessarily join an equivalent new one. Even if there are alternative events, whatever reputation you earn sticks with you, and unfortunately reporting abuse can give you a bad reputation in BDSM-world just as it can in Vanilla-world. People with authority or respect in the community have a lot of power because of the paucity of alternatives, and tend to abuse that power as people in power anywhere do.

Allegations can be very difficult to substantiate. In other contexts, survivors of rape or assault can use any injuries sustained as evidence that the encounter was not consensual; that doesn’t work as well in the BDSM scene. Even witnesses are not always helpful. Most abuse happens in private, but it can happen during a party in plain view and go undetected. Assault doesn’t necessarily look different from consensual play to an outside observer. There are supposed to be “house safewords” or other ways to signal for help from bystanders, but it’s possible to prevent victims from using it by confusing, panicking, or intimidating them.

TLDR: Kinky people are not better or worse than vanilla people, and relationships between people who practice BDSM are not worse or more dangerous than between people who don’t. BDSM communities may or may not be more dangerous than other groups, but are sufficiently dangerous that one ought not to imply otherwise.

ultimateprotagonistnerd

Apparently somebody in Tennessee has tried to pull something similar at a Mad Max: Fury Road showing. With the added bonus of Pepper Spray and a Hatchet, luckily he was the only one who died. I’m waiting for more information but do you guys think it could have a similar motive to the Lafayette Attack?