Controversy over free speech has apparently bred some sort of genre of film in which the material focuses on trying to be offensive. There have been a substantial number of shows and movies which are teeming with violence, drug use, sex, and stereotypes, exaggerated in a way that can only serve to push the boundaries of free expression. For some reason or another, a large portion of the more salient examples of purposely offensive material appear to be animation. Perhaps it's because it's easier and less unpleasant to animate certain terrible actions, or because it makes an even stronger point to make what is sometime's regarded as a children's medium offensive. Maybe it's because you can animate physical traits that are racially insensitive ("darky" iconography, buck-toothed asians, busty women), or maybe I just noticed it because I love animation.
To start, there was the movie Salo, or 120 Days of Sodom. When it was first made, it was considered the most offensive movie of all time. It was the product of a book so full of depraved sex, even /b/tards might have a hard time reading it, and it was coupled terrible messages. Marquis DeSade, the author (from whom the word Sadism comes), was jailed for his perverseness.
Ralph Bakshi created the first X-rated animated film, Fritz the Cat. Since then, his animated films have generally not been targeted towards children. Probably the most overt example of this would be his movie Coonskin, aka Street Fight. The movie is a parody of the controversial Song of the South but is 100 times worse, full of black caricatures who occupy the roles of mob boss, preacher, exploiters of religion, exploited athlete, crazy homeless man, and pimp to name a few. There is surprisingly little controversy surrounding this film, perhaps because Bakshi made it clear from the sheer extremeness of the film that it was trying to be shocking and mock darky iconography. Here are a few clips set to the opening theme:
It's hard to say, but Bakshi may have contributed to what I can only describe as a sub-sub-genre, of black animated characters which are far from PC, made by black artists. A popular example is Aaron McGrudger's The Boondocks.
Read a Book is a parody of the schools trying to appeal to kids to get messages across.
T-Pain and other rap artists recently made this movie, called Freaknik the Musical:
Borat and Bruno are probably good, but still very contentious, examples of making stereotypes look ridiculous.
South Park has tread on this topic multiple times, and has been controversial as of late. There were a few episodes that focused on offensiveness (mostly swearing) and then the movie South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, focused on that theme. The most recent episodes (200 and 201) did not try portray the most offensive cumulation of vile images possible, but one of the most contested images of all time, that of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. The image of Muhammad, the word "Muhammad," and a speech on why media shouldn't give into intimidation by extremists (not about Muhammad), was censored by comedy central.
Recently, the Direct-to-DVD movie called The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie came out, based on the discontinued Drawn Together TV series. In the movie, the characters run around doing many disturbing things, for apparently no reason. With the help of a character that is a parody of South Park, they search for a "meaning" to accompany their perverseness, which will supposedly help them not get canceled. In the end they decide that there need not be a reason or a message behind offensive television, which is ironically a message in itself.
Some would say that these pieces are a detriment to free speech, in that they are a flagrant abuse of the right and a reason to make restrictions. In my opinion, purposely offensive films are extremely important to free speech in that they keep the boundaries pushed, and they affirm that even when this offensive material is produced, it is still harmless. Even if the films themselves don't make a point, they keep the path clear for anyone who does want to make a point using offensive methods.
Even if the economy wasn't particularly dismal as of late, it's always a good idea to save money. However, the frugal movement has gone largely unnoticed and unapplied, and it seems that many are even ashamed to buy cheaper, second-hand materials, to wear shoes without diamonds on their soles. However, it’s hip to be green, so try these tips, if not for your wallet, then for the planet.
These tips are based on the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. By doing these three things, we have to buy less, and less goes to landfills as well. Save green, go green.
The Scavenger’s Manifesto by Anneli Rufus and Kristan Lawson different types of scavengers and what they can do. Here are some ways listed in the book that students can utilize:
Bring a re-usable water-bottle. I imagine that the first person to literally sell water for a dollar fifty a bottle must have been trying to prove that they could sell anything to sucker consumers. Try getting water from your sink or a water-fountain.
Get your books at the library. That’s why it’s there.
Pick your own fruit and vegetables. Yes, you can pick the fruit on public fruit trees. If it doesn't have a sign stating otherwise, you probably can pick the fruit, so go ahead and find out. I don't know why, but so many people think that fruit that doesn't come from the store is literally poison. You can also use neighborhoodfruit.com to find public trees, and post your own trees.
Get it second hand. It’s usually cheaper and always better for the environment to get things second-hand, and save it from a landfill. That includes going to garage sales, thrift stores, estate sales, craigslist, and flea-markets.
Freecycle. That’s right, there is a movement for getting free clothes, books, music, technology, and whatever someone else doesn’t want any more. You can use freecycle.org, the “free” section on craigslist, or just check your parent’s closet for some vintage chic.
Upcycle. If you don’t like something you have, you can freecycle it or upcycle it. Upcycling is the process of making something you don’t like into something you do. For example, I discovered this T-shirt upcycling community blog, which includes instructions on how to convert your frumpy tees into cute, customized style. Instructables.com also has lots of ideas for upcycling, including the instructions to make a juice carton into a wallet, a comfy chair out of paracords, jewelry out of Monopoly pieces, or a rubik’s cube from an old keyboard. Tell me that’s not cool.
Dumpster dive. This may seem extreme to many people, but it’s a load of fun to do in a group. The idea is to scavenge through dumpsters to find food, clothing, and technology. Satisfy your inner anarchist and reject capitalism, man. Check out freegan.org.uk for safety, legal, and ethical tips before diving.
Rideshare. Use craigslist rideshare, zimride, or just carpool with your friends.
There are several ways to save money and live a sustainable life. They key thing to remember is that we don’t need to buy new things all the time. Be innovative and creative, and you’ll save money, help the planet, and have fun doing it.
There's no diving board involved in dumpster diving, and it's not so theatrical and dangerous as to literally go swimming in garbage. Instead, the Los Angeles Dumpster Diving Meetup Group quickly and carefully sifts through discarded material in commercial dumpsters to "save" landfill-bound goodies. Last Saturday night in Garfield Park, Pasadena, about a dozen people gathered to take part in this seldom-known art. The group's members are from Meetup.com, a website that connects people with similar interests to other locals. The group went to the dumpsters of Bristol Farms and Trader Joe's to recover apples, bananas, artichokes, iced tea, bagels, banana bread, potatoes...and enough food to fill the back of a flat-bed truck. At the end of the night, the divers took what they wanted from the truck, and the rest was donated to a soup kitchen. Julianne Lee, a 25-year-old graphic designer, was going dumpster diving for the first time that night. "I want to see if it's true that companies throw away as much as people say they do, to see how wasteful we can be as an American society," said Lee while the group waited for the employees at Trader Joe's to leave. Although divers scavenge for many things, including technology, clothes, and whatever else they can find in these back-alley treasure chests, this particular diving venture uncovered food. According to a 2004 study at the University of Arizona, Tuscon, the United States throws away nearly half of its food supply. The group organizers were 45-year-old computer programmer Eric Einem and 21-year-old full-time volunteer Grace. "For some it's about reducing their consumption...and recovering wasted resources. For others, it's about free food. For others, it's just fun," said Einem of dumpster diving. This practice is, in addition to being a hobby or necessity, based on community. When Grace moved to LA, she "discovered that LA has, really, no freegan [those who salvage and scavenge goods] community, so I thought, 'well, let's build one!'" The community has many attractive aspects to it. Those who are anti-establishment and anti-consumerism participate in freeganism because, as no money changes hands, it does not contribute to capitalism. Environmentalists take part because it saves food and goods from going to a landfill as well as minimizes the need for producing more food, which takes energy, water, and land. Humanitarians dumpster-dive to donate food to organizations like Food Not Bombs, which gets much of their food from dumpsters to help the hungry. The food is free, so it is good for frugal people (although oddly, there doesn't appear to be a huge increase with the recession.) Also, the thrill of treasure-hunting at night should enthuse any adventurer. The best adventurers ever, Flapjack and K'nuckles, are into it. According to Freegan.org.uk, there are many reasons a store would choose to throw away food products. Sometimes it's because the food has gone bad. If this is the case, it's as apparent to the diver as it is to the clerk, and the freegan will toss it away again. However, the majority of the time food is thrown away because the packaging is damaged, it's near or past its sell-by date (but not its use-by date), one item in a pack is damaged, there is seasonal wrapping, or the store wants to make room for new merchandise. If you're in the Los Angeles area, you can go to meetup.com/freegan to accompany this group on a diving trip. If you live elsewhere, check the 21 other meetup.com groups created in this growing movement.