The featured image that I used in my previous blog post about the return of Super 8 filmmaking was something that I had previously employed as one of my Facebook cover photos. I had set up that picture using Photoshop so that it would resemble the opening image from the Dirty Harry movie Magnum Force (above, modified a tiny bit for the sake of this commentary), in an attempt to be cheeky about gun culture and just how much the design of my old camera happened to resemble a firearm.
To further connect the affection I had (and have) for the act of moviemaking to the devotion that gun owners have for their guns, I captioned the picture with that old “from my cold, dead hands” quote that we associate with a vintage video clip of Moses himself, former NRA president and movie legend Charlton Heston.
Directly related to that, today I was disappointed to find some (more) truly contemporary evidence that we indeed have a real “gun culture” problem in this country, and anyone who doubts that probably needs to have their head examined. The picture below is from the homepage for the latest RED digital movie camera that will first be used to shoot the sequel to the (fantastic) Marvel Comics hit Guardians of the Galaxy:
So…OK…WEAPON is the name of the camera. And the tagline?
“LOAD. AIM. SHOOT.”
A little further down the page, it advertises accessories for the camera under the heading “ENHANCE YOUR ARSENAL.”
What. The. Ever. Loving. F**k.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve read the words of accomplished professionals who would gave basic advice to aspiring moviemakers like “choose your weapon” when it comes to picking a camera to work with, and so on — and that’s fine as a kind of ultimately silly, blustery talk meant to raise the game inside your head, but there is something I find distinctly nauseating about this in particular. Not least because the very last thing I would associate with the act of making a movie is the commission of a violent act.
Maybe it’s just me. I find this just plain gross.
Does this mean I’m gonna personally boycott Guardians of the Galaxy 2? That would be no. Does it mean I’m eager to start a faux-outrage campaign against RED? Again, no. I’m just sharing the one little, maybe-not-so-trivial piece of news I stumbled upon today that, for me, reinforces the idea that this world has a little bit of a sickness it really needs to address.
In my mind, it’s not entirely unrelated to the kind of sickness that, for example, gives rise to fellatio-inspired fast food ads, the conspicuous absence of toys featuring a certain hit movie’s female leading character, and, of course, the grotesque appeal of the rhetorical incoherence and vituperative worldview represented by our 2016 Republican presidential front-runner. (No links of any kind there, sorry. I refuse.)
In other words, to steal a favorite phrase from a West Coast pal beloved from my college moviemaking days –
I’m just saying…