TINA FEY CAMEL TOE: Reflections on the movie MEMORIAL DAY & other slightly belated detritus from Ivan Bellman’s toilet head.

Been having some difficulty… uh… writing.  This may be because I am no longer writing from the same place.  If I were I would undoubtedly be someone’s prison bitch by now.  I know some deviant theater fags in Brooklyn who are thoroughly disappointed that this didn’t come to pass.  Instead, I am happily married to a hot, talented woman who, “makes me better,” to quote Ne-yo. Yet there remain a couple of slow burns…  slow like the fires at Ground Zero that did not go out until late December and even then the jet fuel and molten flesh lingered in perpetuity.  And this is why I write.

What I am trying to say is that I am indeed back but I am not entirely myself.  Or rather I am not NOT myself.  I am no longer writing under the name Ivan Bellman but I retain some of his style (as well as his Facebook & gChat monikers.)  Incidentally, I do owe him a book, which is a little more than half-done.

My name is Ian Belton… duh. I wrote with the Ivan Bellman handle for a little more than a year for Culturebot because I was getting government money and I didn’t want them to know that I was spending it on… well… what I was spending it on.  You see I have to be careful now because I am married to the greatest lady on the planet and am on the good path.  So our relationship to Ivan’s head (voice, font, whatever) has to be a tad circumspect.   Ivan is like Mongo, “if you shoot him, it will just make him angry.”  Whereas the Belton family motto is officially, “Anything but pain.”   Irony, you cheap tawdry slut, get over here and take it like a man.

******************

The creators of MEMORIAL DAY should be commended.  Good for them for rousting us out of our thoroughly lame participation in the talk-back with the filmmakers and forcing us to drink beer with them at the after-party.  I was under orders.  I am not responsible.

One problem I encountered with the film was that any indignation or anger the MEMORIAL DAY audience felt (and thoroughly swallowed like the good little sheep we are) was not 100% derived from the atrocities depicted in the film.  Some of this ire (at least my own) stems from the reluctance of the film to embrace the actual story, or back-story as it is based on historic events.   With most artists, as with civilians, their greatest strength is often their greatest weakness.  The instinct for them to show us the parallels between what the 372nd Military Police Company did in Virginia Beach prior to being deployed, and the frat boy games/sorority girl woes behind the torture in Abu Ghraib, is genius.  The failure was that performances skirted around this reality.

Take, for example, the Junior Varsity rape scene where they kept their clothes on and literally tried to simulate an actor’s labia with a blurry camera shots.  For me, this does not convey the tragedy or irony of group date rape, which is then supposed to be juxtaposed against the horrors depicted later in the film.  Mind you, this was right after the film showed random Virginia Beach revelers (not featured actors in the movie) displaying their genitalia underscored by romantic piano music.  So when they did finally get to the full-frontal, tied-up, abused, hooded, brown people, it seemed like they had not completely earned it.

Please don’t misunderstand, I would rather see a flawed film with this kind of balls then a tear-jerking manipulative docudrama any day of the week. The creators of MEMORIAL DAY should not only be congratulated but encouraged with large sums of money.  Hopefully they will use it to make more work as they have the willingness to look at that which we would prefer to sweep under the carpet as an unfortunate moment in history.

I mean, who the fuck am I?  I’m not making theater or films about Iraq or Abu Ghraib.  I read Seymour Hersh’s articles and the one on Sabrina Harman in The New Yorker.  I read them and I shake my head.  I say to myself and to whoever will listen, “Those poor ignorant soldiers. Those helpless Iraqis.” Then I go on with my bourgeois day, enjoying the freedoms of the First World.

We put them there.  One of the only soldiers at Abu Ghraib with prior prison guard experience was Charles Graner.  Graner had a reputation for torturing and abusing prisoners in the States.  His wife had also filed for divorce citing domestic abuse before filing for three orders of protection against him.  We put Charles Graner in Iraq and we put him to work at Abu Ghraib.

It should also be noted that while Graner along with Fredrick, Harman, England all received prison sentences, only one officer, Lt-Col Steven Jordan, associated with the Abu Ghraib prison scandal was investigated and brought to trial.  He was cleared of all charges.  The US military (read: us, as in we) failed to investigate those further up the chain of command.
******************

I have this desperate inclination to draw a parallel between THE SHIPMENT by Young Jean Lee, now playing (is it over? Is it moving to the Great White Way???) at the Kitchen and MEMORIAL DAY but, alas, I have yet to see the later theater play.  We were too busy watching Beyoncé jack Etta James at the Inauguration to notice the seismic shift in the commercialization of identity-politics.   The re-cock-ulous notion of post-racial society died in the crawl space to our Collective Ego and now it is starting to rot.>

A great manifestation of this is a recent newspaper comic parodying the cop who shot and killed a rampaging chimp in Connecticut.   The first thing I thought was golfer Fuzzy Zoeller advising Tiger Woods not to serve fried chicken and collard greens at The Masters’ Championship Dinner.  I guess I am a racist media whore just like everyone else.

r-post-huge-1

I do wish Eric Dyer and Young Jean Lee would get back together though.  I have such a good story about that one, as I’m sure most people do.  They were kind of like Experimental Theater’s Bennifer for a while there.  Oh well, nothing beautiful lasts, does it now.

******************
The Tina Fey Camel Toe thing is really just my cheap tactic of getting more search engine hits.  I figure I can’t be the only one plugging that into the Google Search bar.  Admittedly, there is something too perfect about Tina Fey that makes me nuts.  I mean she is good-looking (her sex appeal enhanced by the big scar on her face), she is happily married, rich, a very successful writer, producer and actor.  And, given her trajectory and comedic propensity for self-deprecation, even if there were some potential for pending scandal, of the LiLo or Rihanna variety (which there is none) it would no doubt just propel her career even further.

The only thing I dare enter into the fray is that her recent Vanity Fair photo shoot was stoopid.  And I’m not sure if she is wearing some sort of panty-liner or they tried to air-brush her crotch on the cover but there is something funky going on down there.  (And if wifey is reading, I wasn’t looking for it, I swear… it just jumped out at me!)

tina

I also think that Mrs. Fey deserves a little chastisement for immortalizing Sarah Palin, who is now pretty much the spokesperson for the Republican Party.  Now is this good because she is a giant mow-ron and the Republicans get the representatives they deserve or is she a gun-touting, special-interest MILF who will lead us (read: we, US as in of A) to certain demise?  Dunno.  Ve Vill see, von’t ve?

Comments
5 Responses to “TINA FEY CAMEL TOE: Reflections on the movie MEMORIAL DAY & other slightly belated detritus from Ivan Bellman’s toilet head.”
  1. Beaverhausen says:

    Put me in the camp with the disappointed deviant theatre fags in Brooklyn.

    And don’t you worry about Mrs. Palin. You worry about the people who supported her, because those folks will always find another nutjob they think will ‘save’ the you-ess-of-ay. Or as we call it,
    the US, eh?

  2. Ian/Ivan says:

    Tim, both me and the Mo’s in BK miss you terribly. Come home Timmy. Come home.

    I’ve also gotten a couple of disgruntled emails about my critique of the rape scene. Just to be clear, I’m not for or against nudity in film . . . sometimes it’s essential, sometimes it’s kind of a bummer… Regardless, filmmakers that make use of the poetry of montage reap the benefits in story-telling. Personally, I think they should have just stayed with the blurry labia and camera phones. That would have maybe solved the problem over more T&A.

    In our feeble talk-back, “MEMORIAL DAY” was compared to the unwatchable “SALO.” Indeed they are graphic responses to injustice and (arguably) fascism, I can’t say that my stomach turns in the same direction while watching both. (Not at the same time as that would be some kind of “CLOCKWORK ORANGE” masochism.) Pasolini seems infinitely more deliberate. More importantly, I want to understand why Josh Fox, the director of “MEMORIAL DAY” put half of his own face in the rape scene. This image also is one of the press stills. Anyone? Josh?

    Here is a link to the trailer for Fritz Lang’s movie “M” which is about a child murderer. Old skool but no one tells about the loss of innocence like Fritzy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIj3Bk0bhL8&feature=related

  3. Punctum says:

    I thought the movie sucked. I’m all for épater le bourgeois-type stuff, but at least be a little clever with it. This was just abusive. The camera work, designed to remind one of the work of an drunk off his ass amateur, made me want to hurl. I remember the color being messed up too. I thought it worked in the intro/title sequence, which I liked, but then it could have shifted into a more conventional pov. Instead it just got amped up, more ugly, more awkward camera angles and moves, in sync with the behavior of the characters.

    And what’s with having every single character, including the rape victim, be thoroughly unappealing and unsympathetic? There is literally no drama left when you don’t want to see the people on screen one more second. I no longer cared about these people at all.

    Finally, the transition to Abu Graib was totally ham-handed. Are we really thinking that only frat boy cultures produce abusive prison guards? Or that every nation has something similar to a frat boy sub-culture, out of which the best abusive guards are produced? Or was it trying to make a point about how banal evil can get? In either case, it felt like the filmmakers had made up their mind before starting this, and were trying to extend what could have been a decent 1 page blog posting into film length. I know I would have been more appreciative of the blog posting.

  4. Marina Shron says:

    Watching “Memorial Day” was like being whipped with a dead, damp fish – this is not a metaphor, that’s exactly what it felt like. I’m sure the director meant it to be offensive to the senses – but the results are disappointing rather than jarring… I’m not sure why, but here are some thoughts:

    It’s easier to get away with treating your actors JUST like physical bodies on stage than it is on screen… thank god! There has to be something else, a movement of human emotion, perhaps? I’m not asking for “truth 24 frames per second” – give me at least a few, well, frames…

    Another experimental theatre technique that doesn’t translate well – contrived monologues that reveal nothing but the filmmaker’s disdain for his characters… Maybe the director was trying to make up for this and implicate himself—by placing his own face in the frame next to the rape victim… only half face actually – I’m not sure it was enough…

    Back to “dead fish” — in the end, the film felt desperately didactic… There is ONE interesting idea that has to do with unreality in our own lives –“soldiers are actors” – but instead of developing it dramatically, the filmmakers just keep pounding us over the head with it… Please stop, I got the point!

Trackbacks
Check out what others are saying...
  1. [...] have been asking so this is my attempt at showing and telling.  As per Letters from Somewhere and Tina Fey Camel Toe, some of the names have been changed to protect the guilty and innocent alike. This Sunday @ NEW [...]



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 141 other followers

%d bloggers like this: