Cyndi Balzrette email@example.com
Thank you for your reply regarding my inquire about the article you have written on the movie "Interview with a Vampire". I have read both articles ("Interview With The Vampire Is the Real Pornography" and "Fantasy and Morality"). I would not state that you should "get off your high horse". I believe you have opinions and viewpoints that you would like to express just as everyone else does. I would, however, like to make a few points regarding your views.
From "Interview ... Pornography":
JB: "Hollywood tells stories today which would be better left untold"
CB: I don't think that's your decision to make. In your opinion and from your view point, this maybe the case, however it is not your right to declare one story should be told while another should not.
JB: ".... there is something profoundly dispiriting in the fact that women will act in such films, or otherwise work on them, and other women will go to see them."
CB: I find it very dispiriting to find someone like yourself, so closed minded with such a blind, narrow viewpoint involved in topics best left to people with more of a open view point to talk from. Then, with this statement, you would have an aspiring actor/actress not take a job (as this is what it is - a JOB) that would help advance their career because YOU don't think women should be portrayed in the way you feel they are being portrayed in this movie? Do you also believe that women should not take a position in the professional world that would advance her career? This is one of many ludicrous ideas you have spewed forth in this article. Get a grip on reality. Why are you trying to take a simple movie and make a life or death situation out of it? It's a movie. A movie. If someone watching this movie can't distinguish between reality and fantasy, that's THEIR responsibility, not the producers, not the directors, not the actors/actress'. If you can't tell the difference between what is real and what is not, don't try to blame your inadequate abilities on others. Just because your mother was not successful in teaching you the difference between right and wrong, does not mean that the rest of the world has to look out for you. Take responsibility for your own actions. If you watch a movie and think you can do the same thing, then go out and end up killing someone because you tried to do what they did in the movie, that's your responsibility, not the movie's. Take responsibility for your actions. No one held a gun to your head and said you had to do what they did in the movie. No one even held a gun to your head and said you had to even WATCH the movie in the first place.
JB: "If the victim were an elderly woman, the film-makers would expect us to be disgusted, but if it is a beautiful young woman, they expect us not to be."
CB: What's your point? It's the film-makers objective to make a film that will sell tickets. Unless the movie is about a serial killer who kills older people, why not have something (sex, violence, a beautiful woman, a handsome young man-whatever) that will help sell the movie instead of something that will turn ticket buyers away?
JB: "The actress, by performing the role, participates in and consents to the abuse; the subliminal message to the audience is that it is really all right, since the actress agreed to it, and even behaves as if she is enjoying it (there is a moment when she is standing a distance away from the vampire, after she knows she is to be killed; he opens his arms, and she strolls across the stage into his embrace, for the coup de grace, accepting her death.)"
CB: Oh please! To say that an actress is consenting to the abuse of women because she takes a role in a movie that YOU (and obviously just you as the actress was not forced into the role. She, as a matter of fact, most likely had to audition for the part and win out over several other women who clamored for the part) perceive to portray these attributes, is completely out of line and unsubstantiated. This is a job for her; a JOB! Not a life choice. This is a job that may help advance her career. By this belief of yours - a woman should not take an opportunity that she has won, that may advance her career if SOMEONE ELSE doesn't think it's appropriate. With that attitude, women would still be measly paid receptionist and secretaries who have to sleep with their bosses, get his coffee, pick up his laundry and get a gift for his wife on their anniversary to keep her job. No Thank You!! Have you even consulted women on what they feel is demeaning to them? From this article, I would have to say you don't have a clue.
And just as an FYI on the scene that you described above, I took her darting into his arms (she did not "stroll") as the last vestige of hope for her freedom. He was obviously the leader of the group. If protection was forthcoming it would be from him.
JB: "In reality, since so many more people see films, rent or bootleg them and let their children watch them, films have much more power to communicate values than the theater does."
CB: I hope to God that you are not a parent. It is the responsibility of the parent to communicate values to children, not movies. It is not the movie's fault if the child has a irresponsible parent who does not censor or at least explain the right and wrong, the reality/fiction of the movie they are watching. You are again, trying to place the responsibility of a person somewhere else. To which, again, I state, take responsibility for your own actions. That's like saying it's the responsibility of the chair that they sit on to teach them not to slouch. --Hello?? Is anybody home there?
JW: "... you would also have to conclude that films are conceived and produced in a monstrous ethical vacuum."
CB: Movies are not made to teach ethics. Movies are made for entertainment. For escape. For dreams and fantasies. Not to teach ethics. Movie makers should not be concerned with ethics. That is the responsibility of parents and each individual person. I certainly don't want someone else making that choice for me!!
JW: "Movies express values (typically while claiming not to do so) and we learn our values at the movies."
CB: Does your mother know you write this drivel? Your parents are suppose to teach you ethics and values while you are growing up. You must be a very disturbed individual to have learned your values and ethic from movies. [Note for further correspondents: Please leave my mother out of it. J.B]
JW: "I have referred to Interview as pornography a few times; ..."
CB: The movie Interview With A Vampire is far from pornography. Provide me with a scene in that movie where you see a penis being inserted into a vagina. It's not there. Provide me with a scene that depicts someone being raped. It's not there. What you are referring to is the vampire who plays with his food. Try to open your mind just a little here, I know it may be difficult for you and it may even hurt, but try just the same. A vampire feeds on humans, just as a lion feeds on gazelle, or a human feeds on cattle. You are unable to see things from the cows point of view because you are the person eating the cow. You are also unable to see the perspective of the vampire because in that case, YOU are the cattle. The vampire, at least hypnotizes it's prey (the human) and provides pleasurable thoughts while bringing death. We have no such mercy for the cow. And don't give me this sentient being nonsense. Who are you to pass judgment on what being should live and what beings should die?
You? A human? A race that can't even figure out that removal of the rain forests on this planet will destroy a large supplier of their natural supply of oxygen. A species that kills indiscriminately, those of not only its own race, but of species it "think" are lessor beings (i.e. dolphins, whales, sharks, American bison). These are the people that should make life and death dicisions? I don't think so. I don't think the human race has advanced enough to take on that responsibiliy yet. Unfortunately, the human race has already picked up that responsibilty, even though they are not old enough to properly understand or deal with it.
From "Fantasy and Morality":
JW: "The spectacle of Harrison Ford relentlessly hunting down and killing a half-clad woman in Blade Runner was justified by the plot device that she was a murderous android without feelings; but we were still watching a actress playing a character who ran, dodged, tried to survive, and (as I recall) bled when shot."
CB: Jonathan, you are trying to take the person out of the movie and put them in reality. The "actress" was not hunted down and killed. An android, in a movie, was hunted down and killed. Not *only* a female android, but two (2) TWO male androids were hunted down and killed as well. I see no mention of THAT fact in your article. I could understand you better if this aggression solely happened to female characters. But it doesn't. Even in Natural Born Killers, the first person they kill is a man. He is pleading for his life. I don't remember seeing him fighting for his life. I don't remember him kicking and screaming (as you said in your first article that 'women' would do in a life or death situation). In truth, a smart woman would keep her cool, access the situation and act accordingly. Kicking and screaming wielding a useless weapon, is not an appropriate response to any situation except throwing a temper tantrum.
I do think that there are situations where women are exploited. Movies are not one of them. The women who work on and in these movies have a choice. They choose to work on that particular project. They were not forced to do it. To exploit someone, they have to be in a position where they have to do something they don't want to do for one reason or another. Money, life/death, etc.
I again go back to the fact that it is the responsibility of the parent to teach the child. To explain to them what is right, what is wrong. Granted, society is sometimes vacuous, but that's not due to movies. That's due to people not taking responsibility for their actions. Having unprotected sex, ending up pregnant and keeping the child when they themselves are not old enough to understand what is right and what is wrong. Adoption, even abortion would have been a better option for them.
What is needed is someone who helps educate the public that the responsibility to teach their children morals and ethics rests in their laps. Not the public school's, not the entertainment business' lap, theirs and theirs alone. This is a very hard thing to do and accept in this day and age, granted, but that does not negate their responsibility. What society doesn't need is someone who propagates that the responsibility should go somewhere else besides themseves.
Try to temper your inability to see things from different perspectives next time you lash out indiscriminately. You are, of course, allowed your opinions and ideas on these things, just as everyone else is. However, be prepared for the repercussions of your actions when you state such negative, narrow-minded views.
Please, I ask you as a woman, stop trying to help our cause. With articles and opinions so narrow and biased you are not helping. You make the entire issue of exploitation and abuse of women trivial with this type of propaganda. So, please, don't help us. We don't need your kind of help. Go find something else to build your soapbox around.