IMPORTANT REMINDER: Armond White absolutely does not give a sh-t.
In a time when many in the film community, and in the media in general, are (a) going out of their way to praise The Dark Knight Rises, (b) refusing to mention the name of the theater shooter in Colorado, and (c) saying that the shooter’s actions had more to do with mental health issues and readily accessible guns than the cultural impact of violent movies, Armond White posted a lengthy take on things titled “Batman’s Aurora Atrocitus” that pisses all over all three of those ideas. Also, he basically blames everything that happened on Chris Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, and the Batman trilogy.
Over-smart responses to the shooting resemble the mindless state of most contemporary cultural commentary. It takes escapism–whether in movies or journalism–to a maniacal extreme by uniformly ignoring the causal relationship between the Christopher Nolan franchise and the murderous actions of James Egan Holmes (12 deaths and 70 injured persons) whose disguise resembled the role that Heath Ledger played in 2008’s The Dark Knight; even referring to himself as Ledger’s character, The Joker.
I love that he’s accusing other critics and commentators of being “over-smart” in an article that has the word “atrocitus” in the title. Shine on, you contrarian diamond. Shine on.
Oh, also, in case you were wondering how long it would take him to declare a direct causal relationship between Nolan’s Batman movies and the shooting, the answer is “Paragraph 2, Sentence 1.”
To draw a connection between Holmes’ killings and Nolan’s negativity requires rigorous critical thought which media pundits, quack psychologists and politicians are reluctant to do. Attributing this catastrophe to lax laws overlooks the effect that popular culture has on individuals and how it might eventually lead to a broader, dangerous social effect.
To recap: Everyone is stupid but me.
Ebert’s unhelpful commentary continues his box-office-friendly, Pulitzer-prised film reviewing. This links to the absurd Dark Knight Rises hype just before Holmes’ rampage–the media’s embarrassing trifle over the Rotten Tomatoes website’s commentary pages where routine insults and death threats were exploited to further promote the film’s release. RT’s prominence derives directly from the careless approach to film that Ebert instituted on television, nullifying critical response to grades, ratings, sound-bites–thumbling.
Oh, did I not mention he trashes Roger Ebert, too? Because he does.
Our infatuation with dystopic behavior in movies has come home to roost. It is hypocritical to pretend that after years of celebrating sociopathy (as in Oscar tributes to such ugly characterizations as Charlize Theron in Monster, Denzel Washington in Training Day, Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men, Monique in Precious, Ledger in The Dark Knight) that we don’t recognize James Holmes’ madness. The widely broadcast photos of him sitting in court with his orange-dyed hair, wearing a petulant, unreachable scowl, in fact bears striking resemblance to hiphop’s favorite badboy, Eminem in one of his patented hoodlum-prophet guises.
Unrelated: Eminem should at least consider titling his next album “Patented Hoodlum-Prophet Guises.”
Admittedly, I’m having some fun with Armond here. The overarching point he’s trying to make is that movies represent culture, which represents society, which puts the laws and policies in place that people are pointing to in the wake of the shooting. The thing is, he makes the argument with all the subtlety of an encyclopedia-wielding bull in a china shop owned by Chris Nolan and Roger Ebert, because, well that’s what Armond White does. Expecting him to pull any punches because most people liked a movie, or because people are sensitive in the wake of a tragedy, or because a particular critic is beloved and suffering from a physical disability is a fool’s errand at best.
Or, to return to my old Armond de la Rocha gimmick…
[Armond White grabs bullhorn, addresses his fellow critics and members of the movie industry]
I’ve got no patience now
So sick of complacence now
Sick of… sick of… sick of… sick of YOU
Time has come to pay…
Know your enemy.
[Armond White throws bullhorn on the ground and exits the room while giving Christopher Nolan the finger]