Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Saw V Torture Porn?

What is torture porn? These are two words which don't seem like they belong together. It is a difficult phraze to define. When taken quite literally torture is a the cruel act of inflicting pain in inhumane ways to other human beings. Porn is explicit acts made for the viewership of others, they are made to be exposed. Put together these words mean refer to torture which is inflicted on others with an intent to be shown to an audience for gratification.

Like the previous movies Saw V scared me and put me on the edge of my seat as far as what was going to happen next. I love the twists in the story and the way the audience has to think a little and put two and two together. Despite the fact that many people didn't like the fifth Saw at all, I beg to differ. Granted, it was nothing like the first few. One has to ask why? It seemed to me that it had a similar amount of blood and anticipation. It is that society is become more and more decensitized due to all of the horrific images we are exposed to? Perhaps, it takes much more than the content of the previous films to wow the audience now.

Something I found fascinating in this movie, as in the previous Saws, were the clever devices which were made a part the "games" which people had to play in order to preserve their lives. I was surprised at the trick move Agent Hoffman pulled when his head was in a tank, quickly filling with water, and he stabbed a little tube into his throat in order to get oxygen and survive. It's one of those things where viewers would go "ohh I would've done this...and this....to break out" but Agent Hoffman actually did it and prevented the opportunity for such statements.

As far as why people actually attend such movies is beyond me. It is sick to think that people pleasure in such cruel and disturbing content, but perhaps we do on some subconscious level. Why would we go if we didn't like the way this "torture porn" made us feel? I would definetly classify the Saw movies as torture porn since they explicitly focus on torturing different subjects, with different devices, provided in different situations for the pleasure and viewrship of an audience, who presumably paid money to attend this.

The one thing I could not get over and which stood out to me was the fact that the "dungeon" or abandoned warehouse in which all of the torture and murders take place remains untouched. Police have been there countless times, countless people have died there. You would think that with such a history this place would be on lock-down, survailanced at all times in the day? That is apparently not the case. Not only is this warehouse of torture not being watched, it is wide open for the next serial killer to walk in and implement the devices of jigsaw and completely cover up a murder. If there is anything more realistic than that, then I am a banana in pijamas.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Wounded Storyteller

Wow! It seemed like this book was filled with nonsense. It took forever to read, or so it seemed. Perhaps all the difficulty was posed by the fact that the author kept referring to others' work in every chapter. It was informative overall and it definetly showed me a perspective of pain that I never would have thought to look at before: how people tell about it.
I suppose that is a very important aspect within individual cultures. How we come to know of the horrors and painful experiances people have all depend on the storyteller and which body they have taken on. No matter what narrative style a storyteller chooses one thing is certain: we seek and expect a return to normalcy...health.
From my personal experiance I know there has been time where I have been the narrator of a chaos story, and pain has limited my choice of words, if any. People couldn't possibly understand. All I know was that I was silently communicating that I would give anything to be back to normal again. All efforts within my body were re-draw and focused at that one ultimate goal. Disease is definetly a reality check in terms of our priorities. But do we know our destinies as narrators of these stories?
This book also has made me realize how many special groups there are for patients coping with sickness and how much they focus on the positive stories of survivors. That is ultimately what our society wants, they want to hear "I'm fine" and move on. But even though our bodies heal, and we grow strong and the broken places, we will never forget where we were once broken.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ghosts of Abu Grahib

I can't believe that our tax dollars and our good men and women are used to fuel such bureaucratic disorganization, filth, and conspiracy. We had troops going places and doing things they were not trained to do with no plan for anything. These innocent soldiers were made to believe propaganda which trickled down from the high positions of people sitting behind a desk in a shirt and tie. They believed. They did their job...and then they paid for doing so. How could our country do this to these people?
How could the United States uphold such standards and values and fight for democracy when the very essence of their mission and all actions taken at this prison go against democracy, fairness, and human rights. Oh, and of course, it wasn't wrong until it was exposed. Again, we were the deer in head lights. Of course this fired back at us, how could we unify Iraq and make a functioning government? How could those people learn to trust us when they see what our soldiers have been doing to the thousands of prisoners, 75-80% of whom were simply at the wrong place, at the wrong time?
Bush stated that "50 million people once lived under tyranny and today they live in freedom". Does he believe his own words, or are they something his speech writter though up and he agreed to read because it sounds good? Yes, population what we have done is successful, support us!
No, what we have done is wrong. And just like the CIA agents who follow direct orders from their superiors and get thrown in the slammer, so do the lower ranking soldiers; but why aren' those who gave the orders in jail? We never see who they are, they never face charges, and yet they are the root of the problem. We are killing the messenger and leaving the king to roam free. This is once again exemplefied by the Iraq war.
I'm not saying that the soldiers were right in committing acts of torture, even if they were orders. I guess we do get caught up in things, we naively believe, and accept the honor and power that comes of doing these things. What I find proposterous is the pictures of the female soldier with the smile and thumbs up next to dead bodies. I don't care about the explanation. I don't care that it's what that particular person does in photos. We need to gain awareness of our surroundings and judge the appropriateness of our actions. A time and a place for everything. A U.S. soldier, smiling, with a thumbs up, next to a beaten up, lifeless, Iraqi body, like she won a trophy for something, does not create the image we want of the US and it certainly doesn't aid in achieving our objectives in that war, which if I might add, is far from over.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The 9/11 Report

A hundred and thirty pages of cartoons later I am left feeling uneasy by this book. It was alot to handle coming from goofy looking bubbles and figures which were supposed to resemble some famous person, like Condoleeza Rice, drawn to perfection without missing detail like the gap between her teeth. I have to wonder if the authors of this book are conservative or liberal? Some parts of it seemed like they were critical of government and others seemed like they were recruiting for it.
The pictures were quite upsetting at times. I understand that the authors wanted to re-tell the events of 9/11 in a way that will interest people but I know that this book disturbed almost everyone I showed it too. "Is it serious?" I guess that is the worst part, everything inside was all too real. However the bubbles and cartoons between those pages can't hold a candle to the fury, confusion, and mass chaos that took place when the planes hit the north and south tower of the Trade Center in New York.
Everyone already knew the story. To the average eye, like mine when I was in seventh grade and this tragedy took place, it seemed like the nation was unprepared for such an event. In reality, and underneath all of the precautions and safety measures and beaurues inside governement in charge of homeland security, this book revealed that we truly were unprepared and unsuspecting of those lusting to kill us. It is shocking to me that the people we trust with our country, our safety, and our future could let such a catastrophy take place. Events like the 1993 car bombing in the garage of the World Trade Center and the bombing of the USS Cole were simply disregarded. It took a second attempt at the Trade Center to make the nation realize that it was a target for a terrorist organization, by that time it was far too late. We had a lack of emergency and evacuation plans. Our contacts with the airplanes and airlines were poor. The president didn't even know what had happened on 9/11 until an hour or so after the planes crashed. Figures which were supposed to take care of the situation didn't come together too quickly either. The United States was a deer caught in headlights and Bin Laden and Al Queada loved the snap shots of it; a deer which got run over. We were left with our tails between our legs.
What about all those burried in ruins? The fathers and mothers who left their families behind in attempts to save someone elses'? My deepes apologies, our candles continue to burn for you.
We are left with propositions and a Commission with ideas to better us in preparation for future attacks. But why is it that previous attacks didn't better prepare us for this one? It seems as though government has gotten too big and too ahead of itself. We have forgoten cardinal rules taught to us in kindergarden "sharing is caring", so why is it that the CIA won't share information with the FBI and other departments refuse to pool information as well, a practice which could better inform everyone and create a much more efficient protocall for action. Jacobson and Colon write "while terrorists have been learning and adapting, we have been moving at a bureaucratic crawl" on the last page titled Postscript. I guess it's just too difficult for all of those in the senatorial seats and represenative offices to get on board and finally get it together. Like the authors mention, we allowed one of the poorest, and least technologically inclined countries beat us at a game we should be familiar with by now.