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David Ryan

David Ryan is a boat builder and USCG licensed master captain. He is the owner of Sailing Montauk and skipper of Montauk''s charter sailing catamaran MON TIKI You can follow him on Twitter @CaptDavidRyan

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59 Responses

  1. Avatar Patrick Cahalan
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    says:

    Is there a Tony Comstock boxed set?Report

  2. Avatar Glyph
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    says:

    Hey David, I never even thought to check Amazon.

    I know you probably get a better cut if I buy directly from your site, but I have some Amazon credit burning a hole in my pocket, and I am poor. 🙁

    If you had to choose, which one of the films is your favorite (like children, this question is probably hard to answer); or barring that, which one is the one you think is most accessible to a fairly average middle-aged hetero dude (albeit one who, without telling tales out of school, is maybe, like most of us, not *quite* as ‘vanilla’ as he might appear on the surface)?Report

  3. Avatar Burt Likko
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    says:

    I must say that I reacted rather badly to the photograph used to intro this post, David, and it seems incongruous with the nuanced position you describe at the end of your essay.Report

    • Avatar David Ryan in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      Indeed.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      Hey Burt, can you clarify?

      Were you upset by the picture itself (by the horror of what that image depicts, or by a seeming disrespect for those persons depicted, by using that image in service of another point)?

      Or maybe you feel that any person posting such a picture is acting ‘aggressively’ or rudely, by showing you something you mayn’t wish to see, and not taking your possible discomfort into account?

      A little of column A, a little of Column B?

      Just curious.Report

    • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      Yah. I think if it were designed to shock us into action, to help stop a genocide, it would be proper. Otherwise it hit me as, I dunno, using human suffering to sell soap, I guess. Sorry, David, I’m w/Burt here and frankly I don’t even think it should require an explanation.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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        says:

        I can see that POV.

        If David were not the ‘soap-seller’ but was not responsible for either ‘image’ (it’s my understanding he is responsible for both, or at least images like the one at top) would that be different?

        I took it as an attempt to make a point, not to advertise the ‘soap’. Obviously David has skin in the game (no pun intended) as both a photographer and as the works’ creator, so that may make it look different to observers, but that’s to be expected (if he didn’t have skin in the game, he probably wouldn’t feel so passionately).

        Also, if an image intended to shock us into stopping genocide can be good, an image intended to shock us into treating one another more lovingly (like the Comstock films) can presumably also be good.

        I don’t necessarily feel a line of propriety has been crossed (or if it has, it was so done in service of a valid point).Report

        • Avatar David Ryan in reply to Glyph
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          says:

          This is a link to The Atlantic’s “In Focus” photography section, specifically a segment on the Holocaust that ran as a part of a larger feature on WWII.

          http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2011/10/world-war-ii-the-holocaust/100170/

          If you look at the In Focus coverage of contemporary events, they will often employ a click-through black screw for especially gory imagery. Once or twice I have also seen this employed for nudity.

          Interestingly, the Atlantic editors chose not to use the black click-through screen on this post, even though some of the imagery is as ghastly and appalling as anything I’ve ever beheld.

          Passage of time? Historical gravity? Black and White photos? I don’t know. I do recall a conversation I had with Tony Hey of the MPAA about both their rationale and anxiety over granting Saving Private Ryan an R instead of an NC-17.

          In the end, their decision proved to be the correct one. How do they know? Because they didn’t receive a single complaint.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to David Ryan
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            says:

            Something labeled “Holocaust,” you know what you’re going to see. And I agree, there’s something about the passage of time and familiarity with what the Holocaust looks like. And the B&W lends an unreality to it, or at least a softening of the shock.

            As for your main point, I get it, bro. Dirty Lenny.

            “OK, what is dirty? And what is clean?
            Now, if l had to make a choice, man,
            l would rather my kid watches
            a stag movie than a clean movie,
            like King of Kings.
            Why? Because King of Kings
            is full of killing,
            and l don’t want my kid to kill Christ
            when he comes back.

            That’s what happens in that.
            Tell me about a stag movie where
            anybody gets punched or killed.
            lf you’re lucky, you might
            see someone get tied up
            or tapped lightly with a Hickok belt,
            but for the most part, all you really
            see during that hour and a half, man,
            is a lot of hugging and kissing…
            and moaning and groaning…
            Oh, God.

            And then,
            near the end of the movie, when that one potential instrument
            of death is revealed…

            – The pillow.

            The guy might smother the chick,
            like in a horror flick.
            He takes that pillow and gently
            slides it under the girl’s ass.
            And they go off,
            and nobody gets hurt or killed.
            And it’s nice.
            And that’s the end of the movie.”
            Report

    • Avatar David Ryan in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      Burt, Tom,

      I would invite you to scroll back to the top and observe, not the decapitated heads in the foreground, but the postures and affect of the observers in the background, and then consider what you observe in relation to Bill’s observation about sex and privacy.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to David Ryan
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        says:

        David, I’m very open about “Only Connect.” However, here I can see only horror, not context. I get your point but after a sledgehammer in the face, you can’t appreciate being tickled.Report

        • Avatar David Ryan in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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          says:

          Thorny questions, no? What to put in? What to leave out? Which connections to make explicit, and which to leave to the audience? What should be framed rigidly, and what should be allowed to float?

          No one size fits all answer…Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to David Ryan
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        says:

        I agree that part of the horror of the picture is indeed the seeming casual attitude of the observers. And part is the apparent bloat of the flesh of the heads, suggesting that they’ve been sitting there for a little while. And part of it is realizing that this picture is real, not special effects from a movie, which brings with it the understanding that actual people went through the experience of being decapitated — and other actual people did the decapitating.

        It’s shocking. Horrifying. Gross. And it’s in a big picture across the entire column, the first thing anyone sees when they switch to the blog.

        Is there a place for such pictures? Most certainly yes. TVD alludes to the idea that a depiction of graphic violence is frequently and appropriately part of a plea for peace and for activism towards peace. That, however, was not the plea made in the OP. Nor did I ready some other sort of journalism, activism, or advocacy into the OP — it flirts with free speech as an isue but it’s really about audience appetite for particular kinds of uncomfortable subject matter.

        I know that David’s movies are going to be emotionally intense and intimate; David acknowledges in the OP that the intimacy of his movies are difficult for some to handle, even setting aside that they contain segments which are sexually explicit. Before I click “play” on the YouTube segment, or before I put the DVD into my player, I know more or less what I’m getting into. The OP further acknowledges that not everyone would want to view them, and that’s okay, and it asks the rhetorical question of why a depiction of gore and violence should be more acceptable than a depiction of sex and love (obviously, it not).

        So it seems like David decided for me that I would be okay with seeing severed human heads first thing when I went to the front page of the blog. First, I got shocked/horrified/grossed out by something I had no idea I was going to be confronted with. Then I got told that David had grown to a point that he could respect my autonomy about what sort of material I would choose to consume. The emotional impact of the first communication rendered the second communication hollow.

        So to answer Glyph’s questions above, yes, it’s a little “A” and a little “B” but it’s also a little “C,” which is the cognitive dissonance between the phrasing of the post and the graphic content of the above-the-fold picture.Report

        • Avatar David Ryan in reply to Burt Likko
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          A while back I got into a heated exchange with the program director of the IFC channel about the airing of the film The Bridge.

          The exchange was precipitated by a woman who had encountered one of the films more graphic segments while channel surfing and was upset by what she had seen. This struck a cord with me because my own sister was nearly struck by a jumper from a building, and has since (though less as the years have gone by) had a strong reaction to people near the edges of precipices.

          At the time IFC was using the tagline “Uncut, Unedited, Uncensored” and my point of attack with their programing director was that in fact, IFC knew full well that there would be no consequences for airing footage of people jumping to their death, but was positively self-censorious around sexual imagery.

          No one’s mind was changed, or position soften in the ensuing fracas.

          To my mind, the ‘op’ is not about about people appetites for uncomfortable subject matter. It is an invitation to contemplate with me the place, the actual physical place and context in which violence occurs verse the place and context in which sex occurs; and then to ask if that helps to explain Glyph’s discomfit with even the clothed, spoken segments of my films, and the place of sexual imagery in media verses violent imagery in media.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Burt Likko
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          says:

          My temptation is to sarcastically suggest that I’m sure these people are glad they could die a horrible death, and let their bodies rot on the ground, so that David could make a point.

          I agree that we have an odd, and on the surface, inexplicable disparity between our reactions to violence and our reaction to sex, or even the suggestion of sex. There are empirical questions here that can be addressed with social and behavioral science, and explored with art and literature. And maybe David is exploring the sexual end with his art, but he doesn’t seem to be either trying to understand the issue empirically or exploring it with art here. This feels more like the combination of a plug and a personal beef, with a baldly manipulative rhetorical stunt.

          Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I can’t see past the heads on the grounds. I know that I, personally, have no problem with sex in pretty much any context, but I have a very hard time watching even fictional graphic violence (there are parts of Saving Private Ryan that I can’t watch). So again, maybe I just can’t see past the heads. But that’s what I got from it, and nothing David’s said here in the comments has convinced me otherwise.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      The discussion question arises, what are the essential differences between that photo and a depiction of Judith which also has been a featured item at the League? (though on a sub-blog)Report

      • Avatar David Ryan in reply to Kolohe
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        says:

        This is important, and why I chose an image of actual violence, rather than making the (wildly off-base in my estimation) comparison of “Hollywood violence” to photographic depictions of actual nudity and sex.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kolohe
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        says:

        Maybe a painting, like drawing or text, is at a remove/ ‘abstracted’ enough from the actual event depicted, so that the remove or abstraction serves as a ‘figleaf’, mitigating the viewer’s shame (or complicity?)

        Though I dunno, sometimes the reaction to pornographic cartoons seems more strong than it is to actual photos (though this may be due to the common association of the idea of ‘cartoon’ with the idea of ‘children’).

        I have no idea where or why we each draw the lines we do.Report

        • Avatar David Ryan in reply to Glyph
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          says:

          What’s interesting to me is how variable that line is from person to person, and how strong the reaction (positive or negative) can be when that line is breached.

          And what you’re calling shame I suspect is more a feeling of uncertainty about what the appropriate reaction should be, and fear of opprobrium if we guess wrong. Images of graphic violence, no matter how appalling are not nearly so complex in either interpretation or consequence.Report

          • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to David Ryan
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            says:

            I have a very abnormal line placement.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Glyph
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                says:

                For the first part in a long amount of context, read this post. Talking about the war is not something that my grandfather did. So after growing up watching all of the Hollywoodized versions of the war, I looked up documentaries and old footage and when the Internet came out I found other stuff that you couldn’t find, earlier.

                Because I wanted to know. Watch several dozen hours worth of horrific war footage and it puts down… a foundation. I didn’t find the picture for this post terribly horrific, in the grand scheme of “shitty things people do to each other”. It’s horrific, all right. People are doing equally bad things to larger numbers of people right now, somewhere.

                I’ve never been particularly freaked out by death (I don’t fetishize it either), or sex. I knew a few people in college who were pretty frank and open about all sorts of odd sex stuff and were interested in talking to people about it, not because they were necessarily exhibitionist, but because they just thought it was weird that people didn’t talk about this sort of stuff.

                I’m a conversational junkie, so when people start talking about stuff that people don’t normally talk about, I listen.

                That said, I don’t think it’s an unusual reaction for many or most people to have a really adverse reaction to the violence. Sex is a little weird, but violence… violence is deep down under the seal of the animal part of your brain that most people don’t want to admit is down there.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                says:

                Hey Patrick, glad I asked, that piece about yr grandfather was wonderful. Thanks.Report

              • Avatar David Ryan in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                says:

                Patrick,

                I had missed the post about your grandfather. It’s wonderful. I’ll add these small bits.

                A few years back there was a release of WWII combat footage that had been under 50 year embargo, and there was a spate of documentaries based on the footage. I found these documentaries compelling for two reasons:

                First, the footage was horrific in ways I had never associated with WWII, and much of it was so gruesome that I was genuinely shocked to see it on televsion. Growing up I saw so much WWII imagery, but it had never occurred to me how sanitized it was, that WWII was every bit gruesome as any other war, but between wealth of “safe” images that had been packed into my head from my earliest years and its characterization as “the Good War” I somehow had failed to apprehend it was as horrible as any other war.

                Cutting against the savagery of the footage was the fact that the men interviewed, giving first person testimony to their experience, were now old men. They were circumspect, wry, haunted.

                A few days after seeing a particularly hard-to-watch doc about the Pacific Theater, we were at dinner with my uncle and his parter, who won the the Silver Star when he served in as a Marine Corps NCO in Viet Nam.

                I told him how stupid I felt to have been surprised by the documentary, that I felt as if 40 years of mythology about WWII had suddenly been dispelled, like morning myst under the hard sunlight of reality. To his credit he did not condescend.

                A few weeks later I was at our mechanics, where I learned he had just buried his uncle. At his uncle’s funeral he learn that his uncle had been at nearly every major battle in the European Theater. Italy, Normandy, The Battle of the Bulge. 50 years and his uncle had never breathed a word of it to him.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to David Ryan
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                says:

                this has been a great thread, and this comment especially soReport

    • Avatar Pierre Corneille in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      Burt,

      You may not believe this, but I didn’t even look closely at the picture or realize what its contents were until I read your comment. That probably says something unflattering about my powers of observation, but now that I’ve really looked at the picture, I agree with you.Report

  4. Avatar mark boggs
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    says:

    I like to think I’m smart enough to understand your point, David. And it reminds me of the George Carlin bit where he replaces the word kill with the word f**k in all those movie cliches: “Alright, Sheriff. We’re gonna f**k you now, but we’re gonna f**k ya slow.” And I think about some of the folks here in Utah (and I’m not sure if it’s mainly a Mormon thing or a religious thing or just a human thing) who will tell you how offended they were at the gratuitous use of the f-word throughout a movie that was littered with violence and carnage and all sorts of horrors. But they semingly don’t object to the violence.

    And then I think of your dealing with Australian OFLC and how they seem to be of the same mindset about your films about sex and intimacy.Report

  5. Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name-Given
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    says:

    Have you looked at Daily Motion? They allow explicit content, as well as charging for views, so that might be a way to “save” the videos and make some money. Since the pay-per-views allow a preview, I could see if I like the style before spending any bucks on it.

    Just a thought…Report

  6. Avatar BlaiseP
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    says:

    I’ve seen people chopped up into little pieces, starting out as terrified, screaming people and ending up in chunks. I’ve watched people burned to death. I don’t propose to make films of either subject. I’m not particularly offended by pictures of heads rolling around. It’s reality.

    But if I did, I wouldn’t expect people looking through the entertainment section of the newspaper to call out to the kitchen “Hey, honey, there’s this picture down at the art house about Rwandan genocide. Want to go see it?”

    People didn’t want to talk about Biafra when it happened. The world watched in apathy as the Rwandan genocide went on. Europe sat there with one thumb in its mouth and the other in its ass, periodically switching the thumbs out as the veneer peeled up on the Balkans. Had America done nothing, there would still be a few Croats and a few Serbs running around in those hills, still murdering each other, while the Europeans sat around conference tables, doing nothing.

    David, you’re doing important work. But there’s a trade-off, as I’m sure I don’t have to tell you. Want to put asses in chairs? Show ’em some tit and dub a violin quartet onto the soundtrack. Do not show them the reality. People don’t want reality. They want illusion. They’re hobbits, David. The world beyond their doorstep is viewed with suspicion. Forces beyond their comprehension are at work. They go back to their bedrooms and make love in the dark with no more sincerity than making breakfast and coffee in the morning.

    Don’t expect serious critics to pay attention to this stuff. Critics piss ink. They’re incapable of addressing the reality of fucking or beheading, though it happens all around them. You expect too much of them.

    Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
    Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
    Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
    Cannot bear very much reality.
    Report

    • Avatar David Ryan in reply to BlaiseP
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      says:

      I do appreciate you kind words for my work, but in a way, you’re making my point from another angle.

      Simply calling people “hobits” and invoking the horrors one has witnessed is a little like telling someone they’re a prude about sex and if they don’t like it, they should just change the channel.

      Many, many people have pointed out a (seemingly) double standard for the treatment of sex and violence in film. What I haven’t seen done, at least not to my satisfaction, is a real exploration of why this different standard persists. Even in countries that have more relaxed attitudes about depictions of nudity, explicit sexuality is a line that is rarely crossed in legitimate media. Depictions of violence, both fictional and drawn from real life are common.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to David Ryan
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        says:

        But it’s not a “depiction,” it IS sex. The analogy with real violence breaks down: we don’t stage real violence so we can film it.

        [As a related aside, in this age of PETA and Michael Vick, I wonder if

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondo_cane

        wouldn’t be even more controversial today.]Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to David Ryan
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        says:

        Perhaps you’ve misunderstood the point I’m making. We agree this stuff is horrible. The Killing Fields didn’t get bashed at the box office because it wasn’t a snuff film. Hotel Rwanda, same story. It’s not real violence. No animals or people were harmed in the making of this film, etc.

        But you’re depicting an actual sex act. Granted, it’s an act of love and it’s simulated in films all the time. But don’t you see? It’s not so much prudishness which pushes people away, it’s the reality of it. People will tolerate actors gouging their eyes out in Oedipus, murders, all manner of horrible things — insofar as they aren’t real. Real death is a snuff film.

        Curiously, this isn’t true of sex, porn isn’t real sex. It’s more akin to a circus act in porn. As seldom as legit media presents actual sex, porn seldom portrays actual lovemaking. Even silly people’s sex tapes conform to the circus act, performing seals, one almost expect to hear them bark like seals, with some dubbed-in clapping at the money shot.

        People aren’t prudes. They’re fascinated by sex, especially Americans, who seem utterly obsessed by porn. But they want sex to be a fantasy: the reality disturbs them greatly.

        There’s a porn site I once encountered, AbbyWinters.com. Real girls. Not dolled-up hookers in high heels with their dead eyes staring back into the camera, faking lust: this is just ordinary Australian girls getting out of their clothes. Charming stuff, often quite compelling. Nothing faked, the smiles are real. Though nothing is as unwanted as unsolicited advice, may I give you some anyway? Quit trying to appeal to “legit” media. Make your films about honest lovemaking. You will find a huge audience: the people who complain the loudest about sexuality in public are the very people who are watching porn. What a concept, eh? Real people in love. It’s been my observation that women (and men like me) are repelled by most pornography because it is so fake and obviously contrived. Un-sex, devoid of love. Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird
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    A million years ago, I came into one of the online arguments discussing this whole “Why is *THIS* okay to watch but *THAT* isn’t?” discussion in which the Lenny Bruce bit TVD posted for us (thanks, Tom) played prominently.

    Sex films should be good to watch, splat films should be bad to watch… but society has no problem with splat films but is all prudish about sex films!

    Everybody was in agreement when I showed up. Challenge accepted.

    I tried to put together a voice that could make an argument that would make sense that someone else could realistically hold.

    “You ain’t never gonna see a zombie horde. You ain’t never gonna see someone dropped into a vat of nukular waste. You ain’t never gonna see someone strewn about with a weedwacker. All of that is just silly bullshit. Someday, however, you’re going to find yourself with a woman in your bed… and instead of being thankful, being grateful, you’re going to have a checklist of things that you’re going to be champing at the bit to get doing and it’s not going to be you doing something with somebody else it’s going to be you doing something to somebody else’s body.”

    If you look at something like Shindler’s List or Saving Private Ryan and compare it to Nightmare on Elm Street or Hellraiser, you see two *ENTIRELY* different experiences of violence. The former category is the horror of atrocity. You have a moral response to seeing what you see there… *THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED*. The latter? It’s a cheap burst of Epinephrine, the feeling of feeling like being scared when, really, you’re safe as houses…

    Which brings us to your movies. Now, most porn movies out there are deliberately fantasies translated to digital form (with an intended audience that skews heavily male). Boobs that are larger than life, dongs that are larger than life, tattoos in really crazy places, piercings in even crazier places, situations that, in real life, without preparation are likely to result in a UTI or an e.coli attack. Fantasies intended to help those with limp or atrophied imaginations still enjoy a few moments of the pleasure of the palm.

    Your films, by contrast, center on two, all things considered, healthy people who share a healthy relationship that includes a healthy sex life and your camera captures not only a few moments of their engaging in the act of love but lingers on how they relate to each other as spiritual, physical, deeply human partners. Instead of feeling like a fantasy of sex, it’s a glimpse of the attainable reality that two healthy people who love each other, who share each other, can have with each other.

    Normal “two minutes to pound one out” porn has the same relationship to your films as movies like Final Destination have to the picture you’ve provided us at the top of your post.Report

    • Avatar David Ryan in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      Well argued, and I agree.

      None the less, the fact remains, imagery like I’ve used at the top of this post frequently finds its way into publications like The Atlantic, Life, or the New York Times, where as the imagery that sets my films apart never finds its way into such publications. (If I had lead the post with a graphic depiction of intercourse there wouldn’t be a debate about whether or not the use of the picture was appropriate, the debate would be about whether or not to continue to allow me to post at The League.)

      Moreover, Glyph’s original comment wasn’t that he was disquieted by the imagery in my films, but by the testimony, testimony that is given by people who are fully clothed, who, if they use colloquial sex language, do so in the gentlest of ways.

      Rather than simply chalking up Glyph’s reaction to his own prudery or lack of sophistication, or cultural hypocrisy, I think it’s worth pondering what it is that makes images of sex so volatile, even when framed in the most normative, pro-social context imaginable.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to David Ryan
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        says:

        When you encounter two real people engaging in real acts that are healthy, it feels like a violation of their intimacy (despite all of the paperwork they signed beforehand and the conversation they have with you and the audience).

        It feels like stealing. Eavesdropping. Peeping.Report

        • Avatar David Ryan in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          Why?Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to David Ryan
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            says:

            Why not?

            It might seem like I’m being flippant, but I’m not. Violence is in a sense always and of necessity a public act: it’s always either the violation of or the carrying out of a social trust or a social command. When someone commits an act of violence, in a very real sense they commit it against us, even if we’re not the direct victims of it.

            Sex is not necessarily a public act. In fact, it rarely is, because consensual sex doesn’t violate any real social contract between the public at large.

            I understand the idea that our sexual mores are overly strict, but you’ve chosen to disanalogous concepts, violence and sex. The more you try to force them to align, the less it makes sense to do so.

            I think the disparity between sex and violence in art is something worth addressing, but when you use The Atlantic and The New York Times as your examples, you’re either expanding your definition of art to the point that it’s meaningless, or you’re again arguing that apples are like lawnmowers.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to David Ryan
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            says:

            It’s access to one of the most personal private areas in any relationship. To compare to mainstream pr0n, mainstream stuff is just animalistic rutting intended to get one from here to there relatively quickly.

            Now, I haven’t seen your movies (I’m a bit of a prude) but I don’t know that they strike me as exceptionally spankworthy.

            As such, I’d say that they defy categorization and since they aren’t categorized in the shameful-but-utilitarian category (gotta balance the humors, after all), the closest category is what? There’s too much Love for it to be biological, too much biology for it to be family fare, and “Porn For Evangelicals” isn’t a category. Well, yet.

            If it can’t be categorized, it’s got this weird and terrifying effect. It’s like noticing someone and not being able to figure out if the person in question is male or female… either due to a lack of cues or a handful of conflicting ones.

            For some reason, people freak out if they can’t categorize.

            Note: I do not *CONDONE* freaking out when one encounters gender confusion. I merely acknowledge its existence and, so far, its resistance to education.Report

            • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              This.

              To add, the difference in violence and sex in art, and in entertainment in particular, may be as simple as a preference for the public over the private even in art. There is only so deep we want to delve into the lives of others, and even when we delve that deep, in a sex scene for example, we want it to be highly stylized, idealized, to create distance both between the people involved and between them and us. Oddly, the real analogy goes like this: real world violence is to sex in art as real world sex is to violence in art. I’m thinking of The Gulf War Did Not Take Place. But much like sex, a sort of semi-underground market for real, intimate violence has popped up (e.g., rotten.com).Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to David Ryan
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        says:

        Again, I wonder if you needed to use that image, and by extension those people, to make this point. Obviously you think you did, but you still haven’t really argued why.

        Also, I wonder if you consider sex news. I mean, violence, particularly large scale or extremely brutal violence, violence in the service of ethnic cleansing, violence perpetrated by governments or in civil wars, violence perpetrated by us or against us, are all news, and important news, news that we should be aware of. So it seems wholly unsurprising that there’d be images of violence in The Atlantic or the New York Times or even life, and regularly. We live in a violent world. This is one way in which your examples break down.

        The question is how to situate sex: talk of it and images of it. This is as important as the why. In fact, I don’t think the why is all that difficult, in either the case of sex or violence. And I don’t think you’re really asking it anyway. Anyway, nice plug.Report

        • Avatar David Ryan in reply to Chris
          Ignored
          says:

          Because in the course of my work as a filmmaker, I have produced a well-received film containing footage of one man killing another man by hacking his head off with a machete and then hacking at the body as the head rolls away. The tension between how and why images of violence and sex are produced and received is not theoretical for me. It is a fact that is incorporated into how I see the world.

          I could have included footage from my own film, but felt that might just be over the top, so I reviewed about 200 images until I found one that conveyed a sense of publicness and observation that I found helpful in conveying the information I wanted this post to conveyReport

          • Avatar Chris in reply to David Ryan
            Ignored
            says:

            See my comment above. You want to conflate violence in the world and sex in the world with violence in your art and sex in your art.

            My suggestion, however, if you want to really make your point: film you and your wife having sex, and post it here. I’m not kidding. If you’re at all reticent about doing so, you might see my point.Report

            • Avatar David Ryan in reply to Chris
              Ignored
              says:

              Chris, you’re so committed to the idea of disagreeing with me that you’ve made the points I had hoped this post would tease out, and then folded your hands across your chest in victory.

              I mean, did you even watch the clip at the end of the post. You’ve pretty much in concordance with Bill and Desiree, which puts you in agreement with me. Congratulations on (finally) posting some clear-headed analysis!Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to David Ryan
                Ignored
                says:

                David, I’m not interested in agreeing or disagreeing with you. I’m interested in getting rid of that image, and of expressing why I want it gone. If, in doing so, I actually make the point you want me to make, so be it. I can live with that. That you think I can’t says more about you than it does about me. I look forward to the intimate video or photo of you and your wife replacing the image, since that’s precisely the point I’m making. Again, if you’re not going to put that photo or image up, then either we’re making different points, or you’re not really committed to yours.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to David Ryan
        Ignored
        says:

        (If I had lead the post with a graphic depiction of intercourse there wouldn’t be a debate about whether or not the use of the picture was appropriate, the debate would be about whether or not to continue to allow me to post at The League.)

        There’s one very mundane reason for this:
        There are people out there whose job it is to fire people who look at, ahem, “racy” pictures on the internets when they are at work.

        Our little league here prides itself on being someplace where people can expect to visit during the day without being visited by one of the folks whose job it is to fire people who look at, ahem, “racy” pictures on the internets.

        Indeed, if I found out that there was a person out there who got fired for visiting websites with atrocity porn on them following this post, I’d be far more likely to fire a “you should have known better” in your direction than in the direction of the guy who was fired.Report

  8. Avatar Chris
    Ignored
    says:

    I see that the ad for David’s movies using this photo to manipulate people into noticing it is still on the front page of the blog. Some people really are scum.

    P.S. David, lest you think this is simply some personal vendetta against you, observe that I’m here siding with Tom. You’d have to be pretty damn self-absorbed to think that I’d agree with Tom just to disagree with you. That, or not read any posts on this blog that you don’t write. OK, that last part seems about right, and pretty much implies the former anyway. So I hope you conclude that I really do think using that photo to advertise your movies is pretty much the shittiest thing ever on this blog (you’ve got Cheeks beat by a mile).

    P.P.S. If any of this violates the comment policy, so be it. If this violates a policy and this use of that photo doesn’t, the values used to set policy are seriously fucked up.Report

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