9 November 2020

Try To Ignore The Nonce Sense

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The slogan for Marmite is that 'you either love it or you hate it', although of course that's not strictly true is it? As with all things, the reality is that you either love it or you hate or you don't really mind it. In fact, there's only one thing that I think that you will either love or hate and that is child pornography. I can imagine people being pretty ambivalent towards a food spread, but my guess with child porn is that people will rarely fanny about on the fence. I can't imagine people hating Marmite so much that they'd be willing to burn down the house of somebody they knew that had bought some. Nor can I imagine somebody that would love Marmite so much that they'd take the risk of having their balls chopped off in prison just to spread some on their fucking toast. When you think about it, it's actually pretty weird that Marmite would brand itself with a slogan that literally only applies to child porn although I do admire the boldness of their marketing team. I mention all of this solely because of the new Netflix film Cuties which has recently received some significant amount of backlash as a result of its subject matter. Wisely, the film has swerved the controversial issue of Marmite only to run head-on into an argument about its depiction of young children and the glamourisation of their sexualisation. To lay my cards out on the table upfront, I ironically feel the same way about Marmite as I do about child porn. I've never experienced either although if you forced them both into my face then I'd be very surprised if I felt anything other than sick to my fucking stomach.


Cuties is like if the Sparkle Motion stuff from Donnie Darko was adapted into a feature-length film in which all of the young girls were played by Joe Pesci from fucking Goodfellas. It's a look at the dynamics of a group of eleven-year-old girls and how they have to act to get by in our world. It honestly fucking terrified me. When the main character Amy tries to join the group, they mock and throw rocks at her as though they're toughening her up for a tour of fucking 'Nam. In fact, the initiation process of this gang is so psychologically gruelling that Amy may as well have been trying out for a place in the Bloods or the fucking Crips. After eventually being accepted, the gang decide to enter a talent competition with a dance routine that they're basing off the videos they've seen on YouTube. Seems pretty reasonable so far, right? Especially as I can't even take a shit without checking a YouTube tutorial to make sure I'm doing it right these days. The problem is that the videos that the girls are copying feature adults dancing in a pretty sexualised manner and it's really uncomfortable to see them trying it for themselves. Which is obviously the point of the fucking film by the way. The only people who might watch Cuties and think that it's condoning the sexualisation of the young girls are those that either failed to understand the context and nuance of its message or the paedophiles that were already getting off to it. Watching the girls dance is meant to horrify you. If you watched the whole thing and came to the conclusion that the film was endorsing the objectification of children then I guess you have to ask yourself a pretty simple question. Was it because you were an idiot or are you a paedophile? 

Amy is a lonely child surrounded by women that are completely trampled over in our male-dominated world. At one point, Amy hears her mother phoning people up whilst having to pretend to be happy about the fact that her husband has decided to marry another woman. Who wants to be married to a man with multiple wives? And who would even want multiple wives? In one fell swoop, Amy discovers that not only is her mother feeling downtrodden and sad but also that her father is a fucking idiot. If I was Amy then I'd probably look at the women dancing in those music videos as though they were fucking superheroes and try to copy them myself. Not that I can dance, of course. If I copied the women in those videos then it'd look like a mime was recreating the moment he confused his dildo with a cattle-prod only after he'd started to fuck himself with it. But it seems perfectly feasible to me that the young girls like Amy might see the glamour of the people they're watching and begin to copy them as a way of escaping their own difficult lives. I mean over here in Britain, all we have to see is a fucking kestrel before latching onto it as being our only chance at happiness and even then it'll usually end up dead in a fucking bin. Am I as an adult aware of how little control those professional dancers have over their image? Of course. I'm also aware that they're designed to appeal to horny teen boys more than they are young girls in need of empowerment. But like punching a mirror because it made you look fat, I don't think that Cuties is the problem. If watching it made you feel uncomfortable or angry then perhaps you should direct those feelings at the world we live in and not simply the film that reflects it. 

In some peoples defence, I read that the marketing of the film was somewhat mishandled and did appear to emphasise the images of the young girls and the creepy dance moves that they'd practised. Perhaps there's some legitimacy in being angry about that although I didn't see it myself and am unsurprisingly not too keen to start searching for sexualised images of children to find out for myself. But as misjudged as the trailers or posters for the film might have been, I don't think we should take that out on the film either. I know of one person that heard about the controversy and so put the film on and specifically only fast-forwarded to the dance scenes to see how terrible they were for themselves after having only seen the trailer. Not only is that the actual definition of 'confirmation bias' but it seems like a tragic example of how we now all live in a society that craves the sensation of outrage. Do we all really have such low confidence that we have to reach for the moral high-ground regardless of any relevant facts just to feel a small sense of superiority? What happened to the good old days of the 1980s in which you could just do a line of coke off your Wall street desk before hiding your self-loathing behind a massive mobile phone? Had my friend watched those scenes in context, they'd have seen a pretty decent coming of age film that told a story from the perspective of a character that cinema rarely ever caters for. But as it stands, admitting to only having fast-forwarded to the dancing to confirm how gross it was simply sounded like a bad excuse in fucking court.

Beyond all of that, there's a scene in the movie in which the young girl is spotted to be having her first period leading to a family member declaring that “you're a woman now”. I appreciate these scenes as both a trope of the 'coming of age' genre and probably a thing that people actually do say in real life. Usually, this scene is presented as being a profound moment in the young persons life but I hate it because of how little I believe it. One single act won't change you into an adult, will it? And if so then what's the male equivalent of becoming “a man”? Is it the day we get our first boner? The day that we kill our first animal? Or is the day we get our first boner after having killed our first animal? I'm a vegetarian on the cusp of old age now that I've hit my thirties, and so killing animals and achieving boners is just something that I don't do anymore. Does that make me less of man? Because if I'm ever on a train and sat down, then I now have to express my alpha-maleness by having my legs open so wide that you'd think I was about to birth one of the Easter Island heads out from the end of my dick. I just don't think that we ever become adults and if we do it's over a gradual period and not just after one monumental occasion like a Pokemon exposed to a fucking Moon Stone. Yesterday I woke up at midday, watched cartoons for an hour, bought my first house, and then celebrated by getting stoned and playing Mario 64 until 4:00 in the morning. Does that make me an adult or not? If it helps to know, then I can confirm that I have been fully pubic for several years. If anything I appreciated how this film depicted this “you're an adult now” scene as being both an example of further pressure being placed on the child and the hypocrisy that even the adults in her life are attempting to adultise her so early. 

Of course, you could argue that even if the message of Cuties perfectly justifies its controversial content, then that still doesn't change the fact that several very young actors were asked to perform in a way that the film itself is arguing that they shouldn't. But how do you get around that? Andy Serkis and his ping-ponged gimp suit can only be in so many films and I think it would be unreasonable to expect him to play all of the characters here. Also from what I've read, the director fully explained to the cast about what was expected of them and what idea that the film was trying to convey from having them do it. They were never filmed in a leery way or from the perspective of a nonce but from the point of view that the young girls would have of their own actions. The characters aren't doing it to get laid or turn people on, but for popularity and fun. Nor are they doing anything that a million young girls aren't doing anyway - it's just that these ones are doing it with a level of self-awareness and a child-psychologist on set to monitor them at all times. In the wake of the film's backlash, those young girls have even gone on to be some of the more ardent defenders of what they've made. The reality is that Cuties has fallen victim to our outrage culture by inflaming the base emotions of a society that values having an opinion over knowing the facts. It's why we have Trump, Brexit, and maskless cunts during a pandemic. I know that I've prejudged Marmite before having experienced it first hand myself, in the way that I'm telling you not to prejudge Cuties before seeing it all in context. But in my defence, Marmite does look like the devil has shat into a jam jar and I'm at least not calling for supermarkets that stock it to be closed down in the way that some plebs are calling for the cancellation of Netflix. So you know.. fuck you! Thanks for reading motherfuckers, and see you next time. 

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