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David Edelstein, the “oil scene” in the “Last Tango” and the darkness of the Internet



The third article on the personal page of film critic David Edelstein on the Facebook page contains a brief comment on the recent opinion of the New York Times, which posed the question: “Do you have a moral obligation to leave Facebook?” Irony: is it burning.

For the past few days, Edelstein was silent on Facebook. Until this week, he held two of the most prestigious paid concerts in the ever-shrinking world of film critics, in New York magazine and in NPR's Fresh Air. Now he himself has become the subject of extensive discussions and discussions in social networks, and not to mention in the real world. This happened after he published (and quickly removed) a tasteless joke in response to the recent death of the legendary Italian film director Bernardo Bertolucci. “Even sadness goes better with butter,” wrote Edelstein along with the depiction of the famous or shameful scene in Bertolucci’s The Last Tango in Bertol, in which the character of Marlon Brando uses oil as a lubricant for anal sex with the character played by Maria Schneider.

Not much can be said to protect this comment, which was even absent when the last day's debates around the “Last Tango” were, at best, minors. After some anxious answers, Edelstein took down this post and sent a promising apology to his place, saying that his original joke was “stupid – grotesque” and said: “I am sick of the thought of how it is read and what people logically conclude about me” . This was not enough to keep his job at Fresh Air released by WHYY in Philadelphia, which states that Edelstein's message was “offensive and unacceptable” and “does not meet the standards we expect from Fresh Air participants … "

Edelstein's status in the New York journal is unclear, but the publication did not exactly give a convincing vote of confidence, telling The Wrap that this is a “domestic consideration of the issue”.

All right, let's pause. We sort of should. Why in the world is there an ill-conceived online joke about a film made in 1972 that threatens the career of one of the latest film critics? This is a question that answers to some extent, but first let's clarify some things. First of all: I know David Edelstein, and we always had cordial relations, although we are not close friends. I was a film director for Salon for years, in between editors. We were in countless screenings together and participated in secret (but not very exciting) awards at the New York Film Critics Circle. I am not going to serve as a witness to the character and do not offer any kind of speech “Brutus is an honorable person.” But I will say this: I believe that David meant that his timid oil joke was plump and harmless, and sincerely did not understand why many people considered it offensive. In addition, he clearly believed that his personal Facebook page was a semi-private space. In this he was clearly mistaken.

This brings us to the next point in this Byzantine tale: whether or not the “oil scene” in the “Last Tango in Paris” image of rape is controversial. This was probably not the case for most viewers in the early 1970s — the moment for the “masculine look” at art house, but our standards about what constitutes sexual violence have changed. (Edelstein made this particular point in his subsequent apologies.) But the widespread Internet perception that Maria Schneider was actually raped during this scene is incorrect. She never made such claims, and no one else was present. What Schneider said in an interview in 2007 was that she felt “humiliated” and “a little raped” because she was not told about the sex scene until the very shot. Here are her comments in context:

This scene was not in the original script. In truth, it was Marlon who came up with this idea. They only told me about it before we had to shoot the scene, and I was so angry. I had to call my agent or call my lawyer, because you cannot force someone to do something that is not in the script, but at that time I did not know. Marlon told me: "Maria, don't worry, it's just a movie." But during the scene, although what Marlon did was unreal, I wept for real tears. I felt humiliated, and, frankly, I felt a little raped, both Marlon and Bertolucci. After the scene, Marlon did not comfort me and did not apologize. Fortunately, there was only one lesson.

At least some calls for Edelstein were dismissed due to this misunderstanding. Actress Martha Plympton, for example, rewrote Edelstein's sad joke on Twitter, stating that she avoided mentioning Bertolucci's death "precisely because of the moment when the actress's sexual assault was deliberately captured in the film."

This is totally unfair. Is it all better if we conclude that Edelstein covered a fictional rape or a fictional incident that could be rape? Definitely not, as he admitted. In addition, it is not clear that the man, so deeply immersed in the cinema and the media, did not know or did not forget about Schneider’s comments and subsequent Bertucci apologies. (To be clear, I believe that Edelstein is about this.)

I'm afraid I come here in the very traditional opinion that social networks are getting worse and that most of the worst people cannot be blamed for Russians. Edelstein published a tiny but harmful brainwash that he should never have allowed to run away from the skull, and then one of his friends on Facebook immediately grabbed his post and threw it to the wolves, and NPR, fearing an uprising. MeToo, exaggerated reaction . As a special added graceful note, Edelstein’s social media advocates, who mostly, but not entirely, other people's Internet movies in the 50s and above, have significantly worsened the situation with a lot of indignant beatings on the chest about the Stalinist hamburger and feminist thoughts of the police.

None of this should have happened, but it was. In the immortal words of J. K. Simmons at the end of the Coen Brothers Burn After Reading, the film David Edelstein largely hated: “What have we learned here? I think we learned not to do it again. ” I suspect that last week this happened to Edelstein only in part from one stupid posting on Facebook, and this is more connected with the erratic process of generational change and the inevitable Schadenfreude surrounding someone who has two prestigious media workers, of which many other people will kill and eat their grandmothers.

If you are part of a tiny universe of people who follow conversations with the media, you already know that Edelstein is a professional idol (with excellent resemblance to Oscar Groach), who is sometimes accused of varying degrees of insensitivity or mental crime, as in his reviews “ Wonder Woman ”and“ Green Book ”, both of which needed corrections or explanations after the fact. Of course, angry readers go with the territory: I was constantly accused of an arrogant snob, who liked only slow, incomprehensible, masochistic feature films. (OK, that was not completely unfair).

I hesitate to say that those deletion incidents are related to the “Last Tango” fiasco in any meaningful way – except that they probably did Terry Gross and WHY (and, possibly, the editors in New York), just a little nervous about the fact David Edelstein was a white dinosaur guy who became disposable. Is this fair or reasonable? Is a smart, funny writer who has seen every major film made since the birth of a medium who has never been afraid to offer his own hot-tempered opinions by sacrificing the SJW sensitivity altar? Or was it all just the inexorable turn of the wheel of history, which sooner or later grind us all?

Hell, I really don't know. But my takeaway is pretty simple, and I plan to live it: there is no privacy, and the Internet is a glorious garden of hate. Oh, and when are you going to post this funny thing on social networks? Take a breath. Read this first. Then read it again. Read it in the voice of your worst enemy. Pour yourself some coffee and come back. Remove it and continue with your life.

Andrew O & # 39; Hehir

Andrew O & # 39; Hehir is the executive editor of the Salon.
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