Christopher Goodwin at the London Times is the latest to weigh in with outrage on the proliferation and effects of the torture porn trend â€” while he brings no new insights to bear on the enduring popularity of ultraviolence, he does update developments, from the removal of the "Captivity" advertising campaign to speculations that imaginings of "Saw"-style tortures terrified the 15 British navy hostages held in Iran far more than anything that was actually done to them (i.e. taunts of resemblances to Mr. Bean). Lynden Barber at The Australian goes on:
But torture chic is not only turning up in cultic exploitation flicks, it’s increasingly being found in films with lofty ambitions. For wince-inducing interrogation featuring the removal of fingernails, look no further than Syriana, which won an Oscar for George Clooney, and Ken Loach‘s pro-Irish Republican The Wind that Shakes the Barley. This points to the other obvious influence. In the era of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, torture is part of our daily news diet, our collective unconscious.
An employee at AOL who’s also a former classmate of Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung-Hui turned in two of Cho’s short plays submitted for workshopping in a playwriting class. AOL News has tastefully posted them online (and here we are, even more tastefully reposting): "Richard McBeef" and "Mr. Brownstone." They’re both furious, garbled, profanity-laden scenes that have readers in the comments posting angrily about how Cho, on the basis of his writing, should have instantly been reported or flagged as unstable, potentially dangerous, etc. But… really? We don’t mean to imply causality here â€” we absolutely do not believe that’s the case â€” but surely this is going to be the number one film at the box office on the weekend of June 8th. Cho’s dramatic stylings are disturbed, but in a world where we’ve normalized taking in 90 minutes of gore at the cineplex as casual weekend entertainment, how could anyone honestly claim that they’d see a cry for help in some miserable college senior’s imaginings of a woman menacing her husband with a chainsaw?