Any Propagandist with a highly-visible (possibly-well-paid) gig probably can’t wait until all Facts are finally made illegal. Facts will be outlawed, soon enough, for threatening national security, sales figures and the overall happiness of the Consumer.
As a person accustomed to expressing Strong Opinions… and as a very cautious commenter who won’t press an argument without being in possession of enough factual information, or direct experience, to support the argument… I honestly can’t remember the last time I was involved in a heated debate in which my opponent cited facts in order to “counter” my argument(s). This is as true Online as it is for Meatspace. Ad Hominems, appeals to authority and appeals to various sensitivities have all replaced Facts as the gold standard for determining Truth, Justice and who does or doesn’t get mob-shamed for his/her age/class/gender/color/ physical appearance. Superior Hand-waving skills are now enough to get you a spot on the Harvard Debate Team. In too many “developing nations”, engineering, manufacturing and architectural standards seem to be just as horribly unreliable and people often die as a result. Here in “The West”, what is dying is clearly Reality. Agenda-driven Narratives are taking over.
I’m not talking about Lies on a human scale; the necessary Lies of negotiation that kids tell parents, or that parents tell employers, or that lovers tell each other to reconcile individual needs with shared goals. I don’t mean the little white lies of actors shaving years off their actual ages or friends reassuring friends about hideous haircuts or irritating spouses. I’m talking about Agenda-Driven Bullshit on a Larger Scale. I’m talking about Propaganda, which is Agenda-Driven Bullshit crafted to swing Reality in order to justify a War or push ten million worthless units at a premium price or shape society in sinister ways. And the local Lies we tell ourselves and then each other, to prop up these big Lies, Lies that aren’t even on our behalf, as though we love the Lies so much we’re happy to spread them for free. The Lies that make us Lie against our own Lives. The Lies we betray ourselves to disseminate.
For whose benefit?
I just read this at the Guardian (after reading a dozen hysterical tweets/ bloglets/ comment threads on the same topic), by Melissa Silverstein, about Maria Schneider’s experience on the set of the film Last Tango in Paris:
“‘It’s important to note that Schneider, who died in 2011, told the Daily Mail in an interview way back in 2007 that she “felt humiliated and, to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci’. This wasn’t a little bit rape. This was rape where she was penetrated by a stick of butter. They actually took a prop and forced it inside her. In addition, the scene wasn’t in the script. The 19-year-old was blindsided by a bunch of older men who, according to Bertolucci, “wanted her reaction as a girl, not as an actress’.”
This is from the Daily Mail interview that Silverstein’s essay links to:
“Marlon said to me: ‘Maria, don’t worry, it’s just a movie,’ but during the scene, even though what Marlon was doing wasn’t real, I was crying real tears.
“I felt humiliated and to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci. After the scene, Marlon didn’t console me or apologise. Thankfully, there was just one take.”
Many believed that the sex scenes between Brando and Schneider were for real, but she insists: “Not at all. There was no attraction between us. For me, he was more like a father figure and I a daughter.
Well then. An actress felt humiliated by a rape scene she played in a film (the rape scene was in the script, the opportunistic “stick of butter-as-lubricant” was not; she consented to the former, not the latter… the former and the latter both being imaginary) and regrets having been in the film: fair enough. But not quite social justice rage-inducing enough to justify hysterical headlines, so Melissa Silverstein has very helpfully re-written the facts to change Maria Schneider from an actress who regretted being in a film that may have tarnished her image… to being the victim of an on-screen rape/penetration with a movie-prop wielded by Marlon Brando. Oh, and don’t forget: Brando was old… ugh… he was a part of a rape crew consisting of a “bunch of old men”. Much better. What’s really noteworthy: Silverstein actually links to the source that refutes her claim, either counting on the fact that you won’t bother reading through a few paragraphs to discover the Facts… or having skipped the very procedure herself. Perhaps she had a deadline to make.
“In November 2016, a slightly altered version of the 2013 College Tour interview [with Bertolucci] was uploaded to YouTube, which gained attention when Yahoo! Movies writer Tom Butler wrote an article about the clip. Butler reported that Bertolucci admitted to filming a non-consensual rape scene and that the interview took place at the Cinémathèque Française. Several celebrities condemned Bertolucci and the film, based on Butler’s article and a number of newspapers picked up on the story, reporting that Bertolucci had confessed to Schneider being raped on set. Tim Molloy of The Wrap criticized the media’s misinterpretation of the video, observing that Bertolucci did not admit to a rape occurring on the film and that Schneider herself stated that no intercourse occurred during production, including a statement that “what Marlon was doing wasn’t real.” Molloy also pointed out that neither Bertolucci nor Schneider ever stated that Brando physically penetrated Schneider with the butter.“
Peter Bradshaw (also at the Guardian) rather disingenuously wrote:
Well, we now know that there was no consent in real life. Whatever balancing moments existed in the story, Bertolucci certainly never discussed anything with Schneider without telling Brando. It was all the other way around. The power lay with the famous director and famous actor.
So, the fact that “Bertolucci certainly never discussed anything with Schneider without telling Brando” had nothing to do with Brando being precisely what Bradshaw describes him as: a world-famous movie star… and Schneider being a complete unknown, then? So, we’re saying that in a scene involving Julia Roberts (or name your current world-famous female lead: I haven’t sat through some shitty popular movie since c. 2005, when my now-Wife was pregnant and the Real World became infinitely more interesting to me than the derivative fantasies on modern screens) … in a scene between a Famous Actress and a promising young unknown male… the director would defer, of course, to the unknown male’s superior genital configuration? Yes? No?
Weirdly, despite his apparent patriarchal advantage on the set…
“Brando said to Bertolucci at the time, ‘I was completely and utterly violated by you. I will never make another film like that’. Brando refused to speak to Bertolucci for 15 years after the production was completed. Much like Schneider, Brando later said he ‘felt raped and manipulated’ by the film,” (Wiki)
None of the hysterically outraged commenters want to discuss Brando’s feelings of “rape” about the film, one supposes, because the righteous outrage would then shrivel to a tepid point about Bernardo Bertolucci’s method, rather than one about the inherent evil and/or savagery of (straight) Men. Which is lots less sexy, won’t sell newspapers, or bait clicks and won’t serve the apparent social engineering goal of further alienating Women and (straight) Men from one another. Perhaps it’s a form of Population Control?
Now here’s something: how many Pro-Billary sophomores currently losing their minds over Maria Schneider’s apparent humiliation regarding her experience filming the imaginary rape of her imaginary character have nothing (nothing) to say about Bill Clinton’s real rapes and Hillary’s tendency to attack/ undermine her rapey husband’s accusers? Perhaps the Culture (with its constituent granules) is not just mendacious but insane, as well? And I’m no Conservative, folks: I’m an anti-War, anti-Corporate, anti-Gun, anti-Television, anti-Car, anti-Alcohol , anti-Race-obsession, anti-Professional Sports, Pro-Enlightenment crypto-Mod.
My Wife is a semi-famous classical musician and does a few newspaper interviews every year. In a recent interview, she told the interviewer that she’d participated in various performance competitions as a young girl. From this fact, the interviewer invented the fanciful tale that my Wife had purchased her first (very expensive) instrument with the earnings from these competitions. Anyone knowing my Wife knows this isn’t true, so it was quite embarrassing for us, since it appeared that my Wife, and not the effortlessly-untruthful journalist, had made the story up. We had to call quite a few friends who read the interview. We called the newspaper the day the article came out. “What do you want us to do about it?” asked the Newspaper.
To them this Lie was merely Business as Usual.
Q: So what’s it like, living inside the Awfully Pervasive Lie Culture … ?
A. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to describe.