By J. DeVoy
For example, the hipsters seen in this video. (Be cautious depending on your employer.) It’s just YouTube, so why am I not linking to it? It’s not particularly work safe, and there’s an open 18 U.S.C. § 2257 question about the appropriate documentation for this work, whose protagonist starts masturbating in front of a crowd of identical-looking nonconformists. (I didn’t see the requisite disclosures under 28 C.F.R. § 75.1 et seq, either, though I understand that ensuring compliance with the law isn’t all that hip.) Yes, we’d probably be a “distributor” within the scope of the statute and its regulations, but why assume any potential risk when we can push it upstream to YouTube and Google?
I know that we have to defend all forms of expression but… seriously, what the fuck is this shit? The first two minutes are a stunning allegory for today’s youth, bumbling with a can opener and trying to attach it to a container of Spaghetti-O’s – of all things – at a 90 degree angle. Also, note how winded the main character gets when trying to open the can, an ever-present reminder of the youth obesity epidemic.
Then comes the “everything is shit” monologue. Well, yes. That’s one of those things so obvious it doesn’t need to be pointed out to anyone. I would like to see something similar at trial, though, and it could make a good kamikaze closing argument in a number of cases. The next time you’re in front of a judge or jury, forget their emotions; just try to shock and bewilder them by smearing brown, gooey Spaghetti-Os over your Jos. A Banks suit – one of three you can get for the price of one at any time – and explain that, “ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we are shit, this is all shit, and we seek meaning where there is none.” If you think that wouldn’t work, it’s because it won’t, and is the kind of lazy thinking that qualifies as self-empowerment these days. If someone makes something, it’s considered inherently valuable. Expression’s right to exist under the First Amendment, though, doesn’t account for taste, decorum or novelty.
The video devolves into guttural utterances and the above-described masturbation, all of which are met with cheers and applause. Good for the actors and audience, expressing themselves and encouraging one another, but they’re doing it wrong. The freedom to express yourself does not mean you’re good, or even mediocre. If anything, it should encourage the kind of criticism that sends the unoriginal back to the drawing board or, if such criticism is received early enough, into the warm embrace of an accounting firm. While people have the right to put on performance art pieces like this, people need to remember that the pendulum swings in both directions — they have the right to criticize this kind of nonsense, even if not the duty to do so.
Also, this is the culmination of a not insubstantial portion of federal, state and local education budgets. 17+ years of costly schooling culminating in live-action nonsense? Looks like a great investment to me. And I sincerely hope the film’s heroine thought through her life and realized what potential employers might think of her before appearing on camera. We’d all like to think life is one big tolerance festival, but actions do have consequences.