Thursday, November 14, 2013

Forget Tom Cruise, Simon Parkin's the offensive one

We haven't weighed in on Tom Cruise's statement in a deposition because (a) the deposition wasn't supposed to become public, (b) Cruise is far from the only one to make that comparison (filming as being like going to war), (c) Mark Wahlberg has said everything that needs to be said on the matter and (d) as noted when the disgusting Summer Redstone attempted to destroy Cruise a few years ago, I don't care for Tom and never have.

Were Tom's remarks inartful?  They were stupid.  But he's not the only actor to have made the remark in recent years (you really don't hear it from actresses) and in part it goes to compensating for a sense of lowered masculinity (that's about actors, not about Tom as an individual) and in part it goes to the fact that Tom isn't that informed or educated.  Tom's topics of interests -- as apparent in any conversation -- are, in this order, Tom Cruise's personal experiences with his staff, Tom Cruise's career and Tom Cruise's toys (he spends a ton -- as he will tell you over and over -- on cars, boats, etc.).  I don't care for Tom because I don't find any of that interesting a 20 minute 'conversation' with Tom is as draining as an infomercial.  You might enjoy the conversations.  But if you're not going to be face to face with Tom at a dinner party, that really doesn't effect you -- his lack of interest in the larger world around him.

What he's supposed to do is be there onscreen.  And he's done that very well over the years.  He's made one hit film after another -- many blockbusters.  He's even made a few classics:  Risky Business (this goes to Tom's real life stupidity -- the world would glance at a trailer, show real interest, if he reteamed with Rebecca de Mornay due to their chemistry in this film but he struggles more and more each year to build interest in each film but doesn't think to reteam with de Mornay), Jerry McGuire, the first Mission Impossible , The Outsiders, Legend, The Firm and that's pretty much it.

Born on the Fourth of July?  Plodding and tired.  Jon Voight does a better job with the same character in Coming Home and that's probably because he's got Jane Fonda and Bruce Dern to act opposite but it is surely because Coming Home presents Voight's character in front of a high school class, speaking, impacting and because it had a script with a narrative as opposed to flash cards posing as a script.  Vanilla Sky may turn into a Vertigo (I'd say that's more likely with Eyes Wide Shut)  -- but right now it remains an awful film.  The Color of Money is a bad and boring sequel.

Those are 3 awful films -- out of 35 films he's been the lead in. Six that are classics, 3 that are wretched and 26 that are enjoyable films to one degree or another.  They're popcorn experiences and that's what his job is to deliver.  He's done his job.

His job is not statements in depositions.

I wasn't going to weigh in on this topic in any form but then I read Simon Parkin's "The Video-Game Invasion Of Iraq."  War is not a film set.  War is also not a video game.

Simon Parkin's job is not to appear onscreen playing various characters as he fills every seat in a theater.  His job is supposed to be reporting.

You wouldn't know that to read the ridiculous garbage that he's written for The New Yorker.

He's glorifying violence.

He's teased out a conversation between a son and mother into an article -- a very bad one -- and found someone with monetary interest in the topic of violent games to quote.  (He also provides the son's friend -- for two brief sentences.)

That's all he's done.

18 long paragraphs result from this non-reporting.

There's no context given, there's nothing.

What Tom Cruise is being slammed for?  A remark in a private deposition.  But the way it's being treated?  That anger needs to go at Simon Parkin who does treat war as a game while pretending to 'report.'

In 2011, Rhodri Davies (Al Jazeerah) reported:

As Hussein Ahmed tends his stall in Sulaimaniyah, northern Iraq’s second city, there is an edginess to his behaviour.
"If it’s illegal there is too much profit. You make 100 per cent profit if it’s illegal and only 15 per cent profit if it is legal," Ahmed said, from the centre of Sulaimaniyah’s labyrinth traditional souq (market).
"Every week police are coming. If they find you’ve got stock they will take it and charge you one million dinar (US$900)," he continued as hundreds of shoppers worked their way to the densely-nit food and fabric stalls nearby.
"In other cities like Kirkuk you can sell what you want and the injuries of kids is too many," Ahmed cautioned.
Ahmed says that the contraband killed 36 children in the capital Baghdad last Eid, amid a fear of a culture of violence.
The illegal goods he talks of are toy guns, usually imported from China and, if deemed dangerous, outlawed in the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq for just over a year.

Last year, Khouloud al-Amiri (Al-Monitor) reported on violent toys and included this:

Nabil Ali Sa’doun, a research specialist in sociology, says that a study conducted by students at the University of Baghdad last year showed that every family in Iraq possesses one to three toy pistols, depending on the number of children. The results of a 500-person survey showed that the number of toy pistols used by children at home exceeds 1.5 million. They are mostly used by children between the ages of five and ten. The survey also showed that the these types of toy guns are more concentrated in poor areas, where such games are very popular.

 Al-Shorfa reported in August, "The Iraqi government on Thursday (August 8th) announced a ban on the import and sale of violent children's video games."  That detail doesn't make Parkin's story.  Nor is it ever noted that the online gaming he's reporting on is actually illegal in Iraq.

Cruise's off-hand remarks take a very real and costly (in blood, tears and money) experience and liken it to escapism, at best.  And that's offended people.

But, again, those were remarks in a private deposition from someone who's not known for great or deep thinking.

Simon Parkin, by contrast, writes for the Guardian and The New Yorker and other publications and he's treated war as something fun and entertaining and for commerce.

And he's British.

The governments of England and the US are responsible for the illegal war, they are responsible for the continued bloodshed (the US more so due to Barack ignoring Iraqi voters and giving Nouri a second term in 2010).

So there's something vile and disgusting about a middle-aged Brit whacking off in text form over the violent video games that one Iraqi male was attracted to.  The War Porn article reads like: "We gave them death and violence!  And now they can enjoy it on video!"

Simon Parkin's articles is divorced reality in every way and it's highly offensive.

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