Hey folks. My apologies for the inconsistency lately. Midterms got in the way but I have also written somewhere in the realm of 4000 words for Sound on Sight this month which has certainly put me behind. I did want to post the links to those articles though so here they are, linked in the photos below.
What to say about Jian Ghomeshi and the CBC? Should I say anything about this situation might actually be a better place to start? As Justin Beach pointed out last night in what should be the only definitive journalism concerning this story so far, we really don’t know anything at this point beyond what has been said by the CBC and Jian Ghomeshi himself. On Sunday, the CBC fired Ghomeshi with many headlines describing the situation as “cutting ties.” Later that day (and into today as well), rumours started appearing about what situation could have led to the firing of such a popular broadcaster so suddenly. Then, Ghomeshi posted a letter on facebook describing his side of the story, and explaining why he is suing the CBC for $50 million.
As for the facts of the case, the “who-did-what-and-when,” we are still in the dark. The Toronto Star and Jesse Brown have had part of their say publicized but aren’t able to release names or details. The court of public opinion seems to be forming into two distinct camps, but neither actually knows what is going on unless they were in those bedrooms and those situations where some claim that Ghomeshi acted inappropriately.
But here’s the thing. It is entirely possible that both sides of this situation are telling the truth. It is entirely possible from Ghomeshi’s perspective, everything that happened between himself and the people in question was consensual. As anyone who is aware of what rape culture looks like in our society knows, the absence of a ‘no’ does not imply a ‘yes’ even if people think it does.
Before I go any further, I want to make clear the terms I’m using. Yes, I said “rape culture,” and yes, none of the women who have come forward to the Toronto Star have claimed that Ghomeshi raped them – only that he physically assaulted them in a sexual context. However, what we need to be aware of going forward is that rape culture does not instinctively mean that the victims of it will describe their situation as one of rape. It means that active, affirmative, unambiguous, and conscious consent is not the definition in the minds of too many.
I also want to explain why I haven’t talked about the content of his acts. What Ghomeshi described as “not be palatable to some folks. They may be strange, enticing, weird, normal, or outright offensive to others” are sex acts. I am worried that this conversation in the public sphere will turn from being about the culture of sex to a culture of violence, and if we as a culture are going to have a mature conversation about healthy consensual sexual relationships, we need to understand that BDSM fits into that conversation. There is nothing to suggest that BDSM (bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sadism/masochism) is unhealthy when practiced consensually, but that doesn’t mean practitioners of these practices are less likely to have the same problem that non-practitioners do when it comes to a warped understanding of consent.
The societal understanding of consent is one of physical approach. It is one where non-consensual touching is not only the norm, but sometimes considered the ideal. Where the grabbing of someone’s ass or dancing a little too close is a valid means of approach, and considered normal. Where, until someone says no, anything with clothes on is fair game. But it also extends into the bedroom. Society says that once an act has begun, if the person doesn’t specifically say no, the act is consensual. Society says that once sex starts, you introduce new elements by trying, not by asking. Society says that it is rude to end a sex act in the middle even if you are uncomfortable and would rather have it end.
So as we move forward in this situation, I hope we can keep those things in mind. To the friends of Jian Ghomeshi, I hope that you stick by him, whether he is the victim false accusations or the victim of societies warped understanding of consent which led him to harm others, you should not be faulted for being a friend. To the friends of the victims, I hope you stick by them, they are putting themselves at incredible risk coming forward here and they will need the support of friends. To those who don’t know either of these people and are unconnected to the situation, I beg you, stay out of it. Don’t shame the victims, it is hard enough in society for victims to come forward that they don’t need you shaming them because the person they have named happens to be a celebrity whose voice you like. Don’t claim that he is completely above reproach; you don’t know that for sure.
To the victims, I don’t know you, I don’t know your situation and I don’t know what has happened to you. I’m sorry, and I hope that our world gets better at respecting your stories. To Jian Ghomeshi, I hope you are thinking a lot right now. If all of this is just how you’ve said, then you deserve apologies from all involved, but if your male privilege is blinding you to unsavory things you may have done in the past, even while unintentional, you need to rectify that as all men need to do
What is clear now, and it may be the only clear thing, is that we need affirmative consent laws to unblur any lines that people may think of concerning consent.
Well thats more like it. Got through 20 films over reading week including three in theatres (which was awesome). Sorry for the lateness in posting but honestly as long as I get these up every week I’m satisfied. I’m skipping the class films for this week because I don’t have anything hugely significant to say about the ones that I did watch. One thing that is big in the past two weeks is that I’ve increased my total films watched that were released in 2014 past 50. So that is the pre-roll for this post. As of October 19, this is my top ten films (in alphabetical order) for 2014.
Begin Again dir. John Carney
Boyhood dir. Richard Linklater
Gone Girl dir. David Fincher
Grand Budapest Hotel dir. Wes Anderson
Fury dir. David Ayer
The Lego Movie dir. Chris Miller and Phil Lord
Locke dir. Steven Knight
Nymphomaniac dir. Lars Von Trier
Only Lovers Left Alive dir. Jim Jarmusch
RoboCop dir. Jose Padhila
If I were to do a proper round-up for this week it would be sorely lacking because I only saw four films last week. It was a busy time and right before my school’s reading break so for now this is all you get.
This week I’m doing a noir-western marathon which I’m actually quite excited for. If I can, I would like to get through 15 noir-westerns and 10 Lars Von Trier films I have queued up but I will likely fall a little short.
And if you haven’t seen Gone Girl yet, do it now. It is worth it.
Oh Mikey, you are possibly the most debated director working in Hollywood right now. Casual movie goers like your films just fine (financially they like your films quite a lot) but critics won’t give you the time of day.
I used to not give you the time of day, but Mike, we’ve been unfair to you. Your films may be pieces of shit most of the time, but you have this magical talent to make that shit smell like roses. So as the first step to a proper apology, here you will be the subject of my ranking talents.
It has been a rollercoaster of a few weeks for me. I’ve gotten unfortunately behind in a few of my classes but I’m already catching up. I haven’t been able to watch all of the films I’ve wanted to for classes buy I have seen a number of films from this year that I’ve wanted to catch up on. I now have a computer that works which means I can actually work on things from places other than my house.
Phantom Lady (1944) dir. Robert Siodmak
Last thing before we start, I am no longer putting ratings beside films here. Obviously contenders are officially 9* but the comparative power of ratings has been slightly lost on me. I’d rather you just read what I say about each film and if you do want to see what my specific ratings are you can go to my letterboxd account. Onto the update.
So, I missed one more weekly update but I had a good reason I swear! I shelled out the big bucks and got my computer fixed. New screen so its actually usable and apparently my harddrive was failing too so I got a new one of them as well.
So this Sunday you’ll get a double update (not that there’s a tonne of films to talk about) and there will be more writing being done this week and in weeks to come. I’ve got a piece for October/Horror Month about the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Nightmares that should come around soon. I’m doing a ranking of the films of Michael Bay and a feminist critique of the writing of Nora Ephron.
Its an exciting month – and now that I have a computer again I can actually do work when I want to!