April 2, 2014

I wanna daughter so I can kill cops


I wanna daughter so I can kill cops
or perhaps,
I wanna die saving a (sexy) woman

Since Fall 2012 I have watched a lot of action films. I would type searches like: best political action films, best action films of all time, best political thrillers, best action films with a female lead, then make lists and start streaming. I was annoyed by tired tropes of cold war fantasies and racially or ethnically defined “bad guys” but I kept watching. I took delight with the number of cops and government agents killed in these movies and how often cops, CIA, FBI, and anyone who worked for the government were portrayed as corrupt, profiteering, racist, and inept. I also became curious and critical in learning how US nationalism could be salvaged, manufactured, and glorified in these narratives through the use of morally correct rogue agents or cops, i.e., through handsome butch white masculinity, excellent fighting technique, and insensitivity to pain. Pride in country, faith in war, and acceptance of torture and murder went hand in hand with demonstrating that cops and government are both dirty and stupid. This combination cynically seduces populist success while avoiding the dangerous political critique that seems always just outside the frame (of the picture, of our imaginations, of the industry). 

I barely know how to address the sexism and racism in most action films and I'm sure that many have done it already, even if I'm not aware of their work. Very few action films can pass the Bechdel test: Do two women talk to each other, about something other than a man? The Bechdel test emerged as a satirical joke and was not intended as rigorous analysis. There are similar “tests” questioning whether a film has two people of color or two African Americans who talk to each other about something other than race. That these tests do not provide a complete analysis of a movie's treatment of race, color, gender, and sexuality, does not deny the foundational supremacist structures - male and white - that are firmly in place in way too many action films. 

Anyway, I'm more of a performance artist than a film critic, so I wrote a speech to address the overwhelming narrative tendency of man-saves-woman, or man-revenges-woman's death, to justify massive human, environmental, and architectural carnage. These exhausted and exhausting narratives frame white woman and girls as weak and vulnerable so that we (an image of) the heroic macho and morally righteous white man and the country he stands for can recuperated or salvaged. Both white man and white nation are crippled by the end of the movie but on the mend. Racialized representations of evil are so banal in these films that the popular imagination has been molded into a catalogue of types reinforced by TV news, courtroom proceedings, and popular history books. 

In “Why are women always being kidnapped in films? ( UK Guardian, Nov 2013), Anne Billson refers to female kidnappings as “the laziest of flimsy plot devices” that reduce the female character to a chattel, tied to a chair, dragged screaming across a warehouse or a fancy office or a bourgeois home, “a crime of theft committed against her husband, boyfriend, or father.” These movies don't get awards from the Academy or in Cannes but they make shit loads of money for a really small number of people, most of whom are straight white men, or can play one in a movie.

I wanna daughter so I can kill cops
or perhaps,
I wanna die saving a (sexy) woman

I wanna daughter so I can kill tons of people to protect her.
I want the roles that Liam Neeson gets to work out his grief and rage.
I wanna kill people and bash their brains in and blow up their houses to save my wife or daughter.
I want the roles that Jason Stathem gets because I wanna kill tons of people to protect a nun or my wife or my daughter and her best friend.
I wanna perfect that look that says: I don't want to kill people unless I have to.
I want an amazing gun with unlimited bullets or cartridges so I can kill people while saving women from asshole guys who value profits more than female lives.
I wanna be a rogue cop, a good guy cop, in Baltimore or New York or LA or Hong Kong,
in a TV series, in which avenging the death of women gives me license to rough guys up, punch dudes in the face, and break every kind of law ever written.
I especially want someone to kidnap my daughter so I can kill cops.
Tons of cops.
I wanna kill inept cops, stupid cops, corrupt cops, racist cops, and the cops who are always protecting the newest gang of Russian or Serbian or Chinese criminals.
I wanna learn to kill with my bare hands, throwing knives, shooting guns, cross bows, artillery of all kinds.
I wanna play a trained killer with post traumatic stress.
I wanna play an elite Navy seal with paranoid delusions and a broken heart.
I wanna play a black ops assassin with amnesia.
I wanna play a trained killer, an elite super soldier, who has such intense amnesia I can't even remember my name or my wife's name, but I can meet new women to protect and then be confronted with hundreds of stupid cops that deserve to die because they're corrupt and have terrible aim, and FBI agents that deserve to die because they're corrupt and know more about me than I do and they're running dirty black ops that should have been shut down in the 50s or the 80s but after 9/11 are more funded and more dirty than ever.
Yah give me a woman to save from the clutches of evil and I will kill as many cops and FBI agents and ethnic mafia and Arab terrorists as you can throw at me.
I wanna play a highly trained killer with amnesia who can somehow find my stash of fake passports and stacks of dollars, yen, and euros.
I wanna play a frighteningly traumatized straight guy with nothing to lose because it's already all been taken.
I wanna play a drugged and disoriented professional assassin with such crazy embodied intelligence and blood memory that I can remember anything about any weapon ever designed but I can't find my name or my parents or my girlfriend.
I wanna play the badass good guy that bad guys provoke by kidnapping my mom or my girlfriend, and then torture her just to get me to respond.
I wanna play a crazy post traumatic stress super soldier who can't remember my name who goes on a terrifying revenge tour around Wall Street, the Kremlin, the Whitehouse, the Arc de Triomphe, a brand new skyscraper in Dubai or Shanghai, or some gorgeous Greek or South Asian island.
I wanna kill the bad people who killed my girlfriend and then ran my parents off the road to make it look like an accident.
I wanna make the world safe again for good people, and white women, and especially white little girls. I wanna play an ex soldier, an ex assassin, an ex sharp shooter, an ex secret agent.
I wanna play a dude who just wants to be a straight white low key dude again, but who is dragged back into the killing game by bad motherfuckers who just can't give it up, who would get my daughter addicted to heroin or crack or oxy before selling her to a super wealthy Arab or Russian with a killer yacht.
I wanna blow that yacht up after I machine gun 20 hot security thugs wearing excellent sunglasses.
I wanna kill for god and justice and country even if it seems like I no longer believe in anything.
I wanna kill people and know that deep down, with your consent, that those people deserved to die and those buildings deserved to be blown up and that anyone caught in the cross fire or who had to run terrified as my helicopter crashed into their office while they were at work on payroll taxes will totally understand that cleansing the world of corrupt violent men demands occasional waves of intensified and over exaggerated urban massacres.
I wanna be an ex CIA black ops assassin who moves to a small town and tries to have a normal family that can be kidnapped and tortured to get me back into my killing game.
I want Schwartznegger's role in Commando.
I want to save my kidnapped daughter, while taking down a South American dictator and single handedly destroying the drug flow from Columbia.
I wanna kill 150 badass Latino guys in a one man assault at the drug lord's secret jungle hide out.
I wanna kill corrupt politicians and their security team by shooting their escape helicopter out of the sky.
And I wanna free my kidnapped, abused, sexually humiliated daughter as the copter explodes into a fiery tornado and crashes into the secret drug warehouse burning everything to the ground.
I wanna play Nicholas Cage in Stolen, Eric Bana in Hana, and Nicholas Cage in Kick Ass.
I wanna use my advanced killer training to teach my daughter to protect herself and eventually to kill her own evil mother who works for the CIA or the cops or a major financial institution. And I want to kill a bunch of nefarious dudes right in front of her so she knows that she will never be safe without a gun in her hand, a blade at her hip, and hair dye to change her looks.
I wanna play a genetically modified super killer with amnesia who feels no pain and can speak ten languages and knows that all women I come in contact with will either get shot, kidnapped, sold into slavery, or have to cut and die their hair in a hotel bathroom.
I wanna play Matt Damon, Jeremy Reiner, or any other non balding square jaw who will never need to change my look even when my photo is uploaded to every Mi6, KGB, CIA, and Mossad agent in the world.
I wanna play an amazing USAmerican super killer and cyber genius whose bruised and broken faith in his country can only be restored through a fight to the death with zombie Russians or genetically modified Russians or triple agent Russian oil spies, because Russia is still our greatest enemy and without evil Russia there is no democratic USA.
If I'm gonna die, I wanna die saving my own daughter, or any girl, a really sexy girl, or all the girls and bring glory to my country.
If I'm gonna die I wanna die saving all the women of Afghanistan or Libya or Iraq or all Muslim women or all the prostitutes or all the sex slaves.
I wanna kill 100 perps and johns and another 100 dirty cops and politicians so I can save a single trafficked woman in New York or Bangkok or Sydney or Vegas.
I wanna bust some heads and shoot out some kneecaps and burn a few sex prisons to the ground so I can stop an international sex slavery ring run by an ethnically diverse collaboration of evil Chinese, Indonesian, Serbian, and African American criminal misogynists, strip club owners, and child pornographers.
I wanna chase down the top bad guy, I mean the untouchable serial rapist mass assassin who wants to destroy the world in the image of his own destroyed soul and if that means shooting up a Nigerian slum or a Thai slum or a Mexican slum or an African American public housing block or a Palestinian refugee camp or a historic Moroccan market, then I will.
Shoot to kill.
Stab the heart.
Snap the neck.
Save the (white) girl.

(repeat till exhausted)

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