Dear Mr. Hurt:
I have just spent the last several minutes re-reading your open letter to Christopher Nolan, Sean Penn and Warner Brothers that was published Tuesday in the Washington Times. And I have come to the following conclusion.
You are a fucking asshole.
Now I normally don’t engage in name calling. (Well, actually I do. But usually, I just mutter it under my breath and try not to write it down.) When I disagree with someone, I try not to make it personal. I have not always succeeded but I have made an extra effort in my dotage.
But when a film director hears about a gun massacre that has occurred at a screening of a film he’s made and responds with this…
“Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community.
I would not presume to know anything about the victims of the shooting but that they were there last night to watch a movie. I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime.
The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me.
Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families.”
And you choose to respond to his heartfelt response with this…
It is all so perfectly fitting that in the wake of a murderous rampage in which 70 people are shot —12 fatally, including a 6-year-old girl — and countless families are sacked with unspeakable grief, you would take the time to share with us your feelings.
Because, really, at this moment, all that matters to most of us is what a bunch of smutty purveyors of violent fantasy, half-rate actors and an industry of sick narcissism is feeling at this moment.
A man reaches out his hand in kindness and you take a giant shit in it.
That, at the very least opens the bidding at “Righteous Prick”.
You are devastated that such an “innocent and hopeful place” — here you are talking about the movie theaters that play your twisted movies — would be violated in such an “unbearably savage” way. I mean, really, who could think up such monstrous hatred and nihilistic violence? Umm, have you watched any of your own movies lately?
You mean the series of films about a character who refuses to kill people?
There is nothing about Batman that could be considered nihilistic. If anything, his reason for existing to keep order. To stop Gotham from descending into chaos. The bulk of the violence in these films are committed by the villains. And in the framework of the story are not celebratory in any way that would convince a person in their right mind to commit violence.
So, I guess the question is “Have you seen any of Christopher Nolan’s movies?”.
(And to those of you not Charles Hurt who are reading this, I’m going to pull apart this thing paragraph by stinking paragraph. So you might as well get a cup of coffee and a sandwich and dig in because we’re going to be here a while.)
And, in the selfless modesty that is the hallmark of an Academy Awards ceremony, you tell us that your “feelings” about the massacre are so deeply profound that the mere words of the English language built up over hundreds of years are simply not up to the task of describing them. Wow. You do have a gift for fantasy.
But the real clue that you remain shrouded in guilt-free delusion is when you mention the “senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community.”
Senseless? Really? If by “senseless” you mean carried out almost precisely from the scripts of your own movies, then, sure, it was “senseless.”
Wait! Because Nolan chooses not to wax poetic about the massacre, that makes him insincere? What were you expecting? A verbal equivalent of Picasso’s “Guernica”?
When confronted with that much horror, humility is not necessarily a bad choice to make.
And again, when you say “Scripts from your movies” again I ask which of Nolan’s movies do you speak of that has a scene the equivalent of the Aurora shooting? If you’re going to make a statement like that, please give an example. Otherwise, I’m just going to assume that you’re just pulling sentences out of your ass.
As for you, Sean Penn, you paragon of endless moralizing, we would like to thank you, too, for underwriting last week’s ultra-violence and real-life carnage at the movie theater. One of the last scenes that 6-year-old saw in her precious life was a trailer for your movie.
In the final clip of a trailer filled with orgiastic bloodshed, you have some classy “actors” with machine guns unload from behind a movie screen into a crowd seated in a theater, watching a film. Ring a bell, Sean? Sound familiar?
Wait, they’re re-releasing “Inglorious Basterds”? Oh, you meant “Gangster Squad”. In which a group of mobsters presumably shoot a bunch of other mobsters in a movie theater. I have no way of being sure that this is the context of the scene because I have not seen the movie or read any of the script drafts. But then again I’m guessing, neither have you.
I realize how busy you are, so loudly and obnoxiously jet-setting around to save the world, but do you have time to think about what you have done here? What your life amounts to at this moment?
No, you did not pull the trigger in this case. You did not don the gas mask. But you were the inspiration, and you are the architects.
Your celebrations of diabolical mayhem and pornographic violence prey on the fantasies of sick, fragile minds. You insulated them from the painful reality of bloodshed. You have inspired mass murder. You are the Osama bin Laden of this travesty. (Bold print mine. RJ.)
And this the moment where Mr. Hurt, a supposedly responsible columnist for The Washington Times, goes from simple prickishness and morphs into full raging asshole like some misbegotten creature in a Cronenberg film.
First you take his efforts to help rebuild the infrastructure in Haiti and call it “Jet-Setting” which makes it sound less like he’s spending months living in a tent and helping to rebuild a country and more like he’s sipping Martini’s with Roger Moore at Cannes.
But then, you stepped over the line and and compared him to Osama Bin Laden.
Let’s do a quick compare and contrast.
OSAMA BIN LADEN: Helped plan and execute the worst terrorist attack on American soil that killed thousands of people.
SEAN PENN: Appeared in a fictional film that has an incident that coincidentally resembles a real life incident.
Short version: NOT EVEN IN THE SAME GODDAMN UNIVERSE!!!!!!!!
A man spends months in a country helping dig wells and set up clinics. Realizes that he’s running low on funds. Accepts a role in a popcorn action film (Something that he’s not naturally inclined to do.) to replenish the coffers. And suddenly, he’s in the same ballpark as Osama Bin Laden.
Congratulations, Mr. Hurt. You have officially managed to add a sub-heading to “Goodwin’s Law”.
And for the record, appearing in a violent movie doesn’t make you a terrorist. Anymore than writing a newspaper column makes you the second coming of H.L Mencken.
Which brings us to Warner Brothers, those titans of decency. You bankrolled “The Dark Knight Rises” and so many other pointlessly violent movies that infect feeble minds and bring hatred upon America. You, it is reported, are feeling really sad about those poor saps who paid to see your wicked movies — only to have the very scenes come alive and kill them in the dark, sticky rows between seats of a movie theater.
Out of your “respect” for these people, you declared you would not announce box-office receipts from this weekend’s snuff film. Instead, you will count your $150 million in bloody money — privately.
Yes, and if they did release the figures, you’d be calling them out for trumpeting how much “bloody money” they made. Proving once again that the nerd term we all need to learn for the 21st Century is “Kobayashi Maru”.
You also fail to mention that Warner Brothers is helping with a fund set up to help offset the medical bills of the survivors. Something they are not legally entitled to do but did so anyway out of simple human decency. But that wouldn’t track with the “Warner Brothers are heartless monsters” narrative that you’re pushing, now would it?
One day, you will meet the original Joker, the inventor of all evil who is diabolical and depraved so far beyond your furthest, sickest imaginations and there, in his lair, you will spend the rest of eternity wishing you had had a little decency back when you had the chance.
Yes, let’s talk about decency for a quick moment, shall we.
I’ve gone through this “Open Letter” of yours a number of times. I’ve seen a lot of bile thrown at Nolan, Penn and Warner Brothers. But you know what I haven’t seen? One word against the people who sold him the guns and armor in the first place!
The suspect in the mass theater shooting availed himself of an unregulated online marketplace that allows consumers to acquire some of the tools of modern warfare as if they were pieces of a new wardrobe. The Internet is awash in sites ranging from BulkAmmo.com, which this weekend listed a sale on a thousand rifle rounds for $335, to eBay, where bidding on one armored special forces helmet has risen to $799.
“We’re different than other cultures,” said Dudley Brown, executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, which advocates for firearms owners’ rights. “We do allow Americans to possess the accoutrements that our military generally has.”
On May 22, law enforcement officials said Holmes bought a Glock pistol. Less than a week later, he upgraded to a shotgun. The following week he bought an AR-15 rifle, versions of which had been outlawed under the assault weapon ban in 1994. But that prohibition expired in 2004 and Congress, in a nod to the political clout of gun enthusiasts, did not renew it. (Bold Type mine.)
So let’s review, you have no problem spending a column attacking filmmakers for creating fictional scenes of violence. But not word one about the people who sold the crazy man the guns in the first place.
I get it. The NRA is a powerful lobby. If you say one word about advocating even the most basic, common sense rule to curtail the sale of Assault Weapons, people start screaming “2’nd Amendment” and keep screaming until your ears start bleeding.
So, you write a piece about violence in movies and how they’re to blame. It’s easy. Movie people are rich, pretty, have more sex than everyone else. They’re easy to hate. And you don’t even have to offer any solutions. Just cluck your tongue until you reach your minimum word count. Easy, Peasy, nice and breezy.
And if you had just done a standard “Think Piece”, I would not be wasting my time slicing this thing apart sentence by sentence.
But you didn’t just write a think piece, did you. No, you wrote an “open letter” calling the filmmakers terrorists and condemning them to hell all for the crime of making a movie you found objectionable. Hell, you did everything but break into the A.P.D.’s evidence locker. grab one of the guns, go into Nolan’s home, shove the gun into his sleeping hands and yell “J’accuse!”
And not out of any real moral outrage but because you know that the loudest, angriest piece aimed squarely at the filmmakers will guarantee you eyeballs on the screen.
As far as I’m concerned, the only person who’s exploiting the dead is you, Mr Charles Hurt of the Washington Times. You Diarrhea-Breathed-Hit-Count-Whoring-third-rate-HACK!
No, I take back that last part. A third rate hack wouldn’t have the energy to work himself into a faux lather like this. You are a First Rate Hack! King of the Hacks. In the world of burnt out opinion jockeys, you are clearly Mozart and all others are Salieri!
You are a man who uses the dead to beat up celebrities you don’t like. That is hackery for the Goddamn Ages!
Spend 3000 words raging against a system that puts guns in the hands of broken young men! Yell at a Congress that values donations from the NRA over the safety of it’s citizens! Go into a harangue about the messed up Mental Health infrastructure in this country! Them maybe, I might take your opinions seriously for half a minute!
Otherwise, may I suggest that the next time you feel angry about Hollywood, you grab some magazines and a bottle of hand lotion and spend a few minutes fantasizing about Hate-Fucking Scarlett Johansson.
It would be a far more productive use of your time than producing the blather that you call opinion.
And yes, that was my long winded way of telling you to go fuck yourself.
What the hell. Let me give you the short version.
Go fuck yourself!
EDIT: 8-28-12: Cross Posted at the Daily Kos.