03 October 2014
Those who recognize my title as a South Park quote my be inclined towards thinking this is going to be a light hearted post. Contrary to the suggestion of my chosen literary device, I am writing this with a mixture of anger an apprehension.
Yesterday morning the local rag of northern Connecticut, The Hartford Courant decided to fill its front page, and lead its website with a story about a local film company. The chosen title of the article "Two Educators Behind Violence and Nudity in Slasher Flicks" makes it abundantly clear the conservative and aggressive slant taken by reporter Matthew Kauffman (firstname.lastname@example.org). I found this story troubling on a number of levels.
First there are two personal factors at work here: One: I am well aquainted with a member of Moongoyle entertainment (neither of the two men named in the story) and know that the article coincides with shooting and production of by far their biggest project to date (My intention here is not to advertise for them, so I will leave it to the interested reader to find more out on their own). The first things that crossed my mind was that The Courant was running this story to leach off the success of local film company and / or running the story as an excuse to put nudity and gore on their front page on a slow news day. This would be deplorable enough from an institution that at least in principal has a responsibilty to the community they report on to bring them "actual news".
Secondly: As someone who regularly shares controversial opinions in a public forum (here as well as elsewhere) the fallout from this story has worried me on a personal level. Regardless of my political and economic views I have grown soft and accustomed to having a roof over my head and food on my plate, both for myself and for 5 year old "little man" who relies upon us for these things in his life. As a result of this article two of the men from Moongoyle entertainment have their careers jeopardized. Jeopardized, as a result of perfectly legal actions that they undertook in spheres of their lives that they thought to be completely separate from their "day jobs". Both men mentioned in the story are waking up today realizing how little freedom we actually have left in this country.
As a result of yesterday's article the two men mentioned (a principal and a guidance counselor) have been placed on administrative leave by the Granby CT. school system where they are employed. I may not personally be a fan of the type of work done by Moongoyle ("slasher films" with gratuitious and exploitative sex and violence) however these films are not illegal, in-fact, are a commonly accepted genre of American film making, and are certainly not child horror pornography the way Kauffman seems to suggest in his article. This leads to the conclusion that regardless of its tastefulness, or lack there of, or their work being inappropriate for the children that they educate during the day, these men are in danger of losing their economic lives as a result of ART that they created on their free time and with their own (not schoolboard) resources. These film-makers should be celebrated by the Granby school system, not placed on leave and possibly fired. Personally, as a parent I would be thrilled that one of my child's educators could teach something about an experience they actually had instead of just something that they read out of a book. But I guess that wouldn't be preparing the students for some standardized test that is needed to prove how far behind we are falling compared to the rest of the world...but I rant...that is a topic for another day. The Courant's attack on MoonGoyle is at very least a sad commentary on the ever increasing power the conservative right is gaining in our school system and press.
The Hartford Courant's Matt Kauffman (as well as the editorial team that decided to run this garbage story at all, let alone on the front page) should be the ones in danger loosing jobs here. This story was clearly designed to get boobs on the front page of the paper while enticing conservatives and general Jesus freaks who will of course respond with "Would you want your own daughter naked in one of their films?"
No I wouldn't want my own daughter naked in a MoonGoyle film, but as long as the filmmakers are not breaking any laws, and we remain free to express ourselves artistically (which I am pretty sure is part of our basic right of freedom of expression), being in one of their films would be my daughter's choice. What worries me most* is that perhaps we are even less free to express ourselves that I thought, and my next entry will be about how the word "Marx" in the title of this blog has cost me my career as an exploited capitalist worker.
*Yes I am being a little overly dramatic....