Posted by Daily Quail
July 21st, 2009
The Daily Mail resides in a terrifying alternate reality. In this dark and hopeless place, decent middle-class folk are surrounded by pernicious subliminal messages of hate designed to brainwash them into murdering, maiming, pillaging and setting fire to each other. The inhabitants of this world have no control over their actions; sinister forces fill their tiny minds with sex and violence and, inevitably, they succumb to the evils of the media induced orgy of societal destruction.
With predictable regularity, The Mail has clutched at its pearls and warned readers of the impending apocalypse every time a new movie, video game or book is released that contains depictions of sex and violence. A few years ago, Chris Tookey, the Mail’s resident film critic (who, bizarrely, appears to despise almost every movie ever made) described Eli Roth’s Hostel as ‘the most revoltingly violent pornography ever to have polluted mainstream cinema’ under a headline that hooted ‘Disgusting! Dangerous! Degrading!‘ from behind its chintz covered sofa.
Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but for The Mail it isn’t enough to simply dislike something. If The Mail doesn’t get on with something, be it immigrants, the BBC, teh gays, or that Twitter, it must be presented as harmful, or at the very least, a symbol of moral decay. Think what you will of Hostel (and I, for the record, don’t particularly like it), but blaming any film for creating ‘a desensitised generation’ that ’sees nothing wrong with torture and mutilation’ is a bit of a stretch. Perhaps I’m too jaded to be affected by it, but Psycho doesn’t make me want to murder hotel guests in the shower and Goodfellas didn’t convince me that it’s acceptable to shoot barmen who ignore me.
The Mail’s alternate reality was similarly shaken by the Grand Theft Auto franchise which was blamed variously for stabbings, arson and even sexual assault – despite being lauded by the very same newspaper as a 5-star ‘epic’. The Dark Knight was linked to knife crime and the corruption of Britain’s children, while Korean cult classic Oldboy, it was decided, was entirely to blame for the Virginia Tech massacre. The fact that the gunman was a twisted, gun-obsessed maniac before seeing the film had nothing to do with it, naturally.
All of the above cases shared one common element: you had to actually see the offending films or games before your mind exploded in a fit of sick filth induced spasmic doublethink. Now, it seems it is not necessary to actually experience the gratuitous screen sin for your soul to be defiled, as broad-minded Christopher Hart explains in The Mail’s newest jolt of celluloid condemnation:
You do not need to see Lars von Trier’s Antichrist to know how revolting it is.
I haven’t seen it myself, nor shall I…merely reading about Antichrist is stomach-turning, and enough to form a judgment.
As Ernest Hemingway said of obscenity in a justifiably disgusting image, you don’t need to eat a whole bowl of scabs to know they’re scabs.
Hart finds himself able to discuss a film he hasn’t even seen, moved presumably by the sheer potency of the vile images contained in Lars von Trier’s Antichrist to a shamanic state of higher consciousness where he…just…knows…things. Nightmarish things.
After ruining the plot by revealing the beginning, middle and end of the film (just so even if you did want to go see it, there’s no point), he lambasts the British Board of Film Classification for giving Antichrist an 18 certificate, thereby granting it a release in this country. ‘As we all know’, he intones, ‘this is meaningless in the age of the DVD because sooner or later any film that is given general release will be seen by children.’ For Hart, this film he hasn’t even seen should never be seen, by anyone, anywhere, because he’s heard it’s wrong. Hilariously, his article is shrilly titled: ‘What DOES it take for a film to get banned these days?’. Well, I would assume actually watching it would be a good first step Mr. Hart.
Hart, who describes himself as a ‘libertarian’, goes on to implicate the unseen horrors of Antichrist in Islamic extremism:
It doesn’t shock or surprise me in the slightest that Europe now produces such pieces of sick, pretentious trash, fully confirming our jihadist enemies’ view of us as a society in the last stages of corruption and decay.
Before adding wearily that it’s all the fault of those bladdy Danes wot live where that von Trier sicko comes from:
It doesn’t surprise me that Antichrist was heavily subsidised by the Danish Film Institute to the tune of 1.5 million euros.
Can you see where this is going? Sick film that will break Britain, made by a Danish director with Danish money, Denmark is a European country, we pay taxes that go to Europe…ohmigod, this disgusting movie is being forced upon us by that great Satan, the EU!!1!
I tried to find out more from the Institute, but to my small surprise they disdained to reply. But you can be sure that they in turn are funded by the EU and so by my taxes – and yours.
Yes, you can be sure that your tax pennies are funding this sort of abomination because of the EU, and because Christopher Hart rang the Danish film institute because he’s a real journalist and stuff. He may not have been able to find the time or inclination to watch Antichrist but at least he did some background research, right?
Well, perhaps not quite right. We contacted the Danish Film Institute and asked whether they had any record of a Christopher Hart attempting ‘to find out more’. The DFI said that they have no record of any email enquiries from Christopher Hart to their enquiries address and no record of any member of staff speaking to him. They did acknowledge that they are large organisation of over 100 employees, many of whom are currently on summer vacation, so there is a chance his correspondence was missed – but then, if we could get hold of someone there, it can’t be that difficult.
The very pleasant and helpful member of staff (who replied to us only a couple of hours after we asked for exactly the same information Hart claims he requested) also cleared up some issues regarding the DFI’s funding. The DFI is in fact funded by the Danish government through the Ministry of Culture as regulated by the Film Act 1997. Not the EU. They were even so kind as to provide documentation detailing exactly where the money comes from and how it is used (PDF)
An interesting figure worth noting is on page 8 which reveals that, in fact, the DFI only contributed 13.9% of Antichrist’s budget. The DFI also gave us a link to the Film Act of 1997 that sets out the framework for funding Danish film. For those of you interested in the finer legal details of the Danish Ministry of Culture’s working, it’s here.
Following Hart’s tirade against the big bad EU giving money to big bad Danish directors to make depraved violent pornography, he asks plaintively:
How do you feel about that? If not shocked, then weary, furious, disgusted? Well you can complain all you like, but no one is listening. Our arts mandarins, along with the rest of our lofty liberal elite, don’t work like that.
Quite. Here’s another question: How do you feel about a journalist pontificating on the evils of a film he hasn’t seen, making inaccurate claims about its funding, conducting zero research, and laying blame for his lack of evidence at the feet of what is actually a very open, helpful organisation? Does it shock, weary, infuriate and disgust you? Well? Does it? You can complain all you like, but chances are the editor isn’t listening.