Anyone swayed by Seth Farber's comments needs to consider some facts and do a simultaneous reality check ("Love/Hate Mail," June 17).
First of all, the totally unmotivated, incredibly vicious murder, mutilation and dismemberment of 19-year-old Walter Brooks needs to be kept in mind. Farber conveniently fails to mention that Brooks was an innocent Good Samaritan that "Deion" flagged down into an ambush. The young man was on his way home from work when "Deion" flagged him down. The killing involved cannibalism and sexual mutilation.
Second, we need to remember that in virtually every case of this kind, the defense evolves a story of the innocent woman victim-of-abuse going along as an unwilling participant. Such stories are often a total fabrication, and the female actually a stoned and happy participant.
For example, in Canada a few decades back, a young couple, Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka, committed a series of horrific murders. When the police closed in, Homolka turned on Bernardo, presented herself as the standard terrified pathetic abused girl, and got a nice plea bargain. Later on, it was discovered that the incompetent police had missed a trove of videos showing that Homolka was actually a creative, enthusiastic participant in the murders. In fact, she drugged her own sister so that Bernardo could rape and murder her! A week after the murder, Homolka wrote a letter revealing that her main concern was that her parents were too bummed out by the death of her sister to concentrate on her wedding plans!
Farber's cheap-shot sideswipe at Tennessee's justice system also deserves a rejoinder. Any criminologist will tell you that, crime for crime, the justice system is incredibly lenient toward female offenders. They are charged less often, convicted less often, and serve lighter sentences. Consider the case of the Tennessee minister shotgunned to death by his wife. After she shot him in the back and calmly watched him die, she evolved the creative defense that he was, well, slightly sexually kinky! The fact that she was running a check-kiting scheme he had discovered (and was angry about) didn't sway the jury much. She was free a few months after the trial. Farber's evaluation and presentation of evidence is highly selective. On his website, he fails to mention the cannibalism and sexual mutilation.
The fact that the murderous Mr. Smothers now has changed his testimony is interesting, but hardly persuasive. It is the last way he can exercise power over or in behalf of Ms. Harris, and probably figures in some bizarre prison-house fantasy of his.
Farber may be right. Harris may indeed be a victim. But I'm not convinced.
Mr. Ridley: Years ago, when this publication was fledgling, I was a rabid fan of your movie reviews....they were irreverent, sarcastic, biting and ultimately amusing. I loved your style, your "damn the devil" attitude.
I do NOT believe that "critiquing" is a lifelong job ... I think the fact that it IS a job jades ANYONE!
Movies, for the most part, are passive entertainment ... yes, one can or cannot enjoy the characters.
But that is NOT my point .... over all these years, you have gone from enjoying it for what it is to a 9-5 JOB! And it shows in your columns ... I quit reading the Scene in no part due to you. I started to believe that someone COULD review a movie, that the reviewer could ENJOY it for what it was.
You used to say, succulently, in well chosen words, in five lines what I needed to have some information on ... now, your reviews involve "lighting, scene, dialogue" ... you compare movies today with movies most people, except "ART SNOBS," have never heard of ... in paragraphs.
Perhaps it was there already, but you should investigate the expense of having the damned stick removed!
Yes, I agree ... some movies are stupid, hopeless, miswritten and miscast and should have never seen the drawing board, much less the cinema.
But in the end, I watch movies for the "popcorn effect" or if it is a subject that interests me. I'm gay, but I still like watching hot babes blowing shit up! I love suspending my disbelief ... why does every f-ing critic want to "piss in my Cheerios?"
In my vast experience, I have found that the ones who criticize the most are the ones who don't have the cojones to create themselves. Critics are gadflies, a necessary evil ... but you have disappointed me, severely. You strapped yourself down into this "holier than thou" 'tude and then you wallow in it, I love print more than anyone would believe, but at the end of the day we all need some whimsy, some silliness, some kind of confirmation that, opposed to the Buddhist belief, all is NOT suffering.
Watch a movie for FUN and quit analyzing EVERYTHING for us ... what you get is what you put in.
The alternative is that I kidnap you, liquor you up, blow shotguns in your face and make you watch Can't Stop The Music.
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