The idea that this man made this sick movie, and that Metropolis is giving him credence by featuring him in such a way, along with posting sick, disgusting pictures from the film, is deeply disturbing (Feature, September 25). What is the benefit of a film like this? To cater to sick freaks? Are we supposed to think it’s funny that there is a picture of this horrible man with a bloody knife held up to his mouth? Is it all a big joke? Blood splattered all over everything, organs hanging out, people slowly dying—is this “entertainment”? After all these years of supporting Metropolis, I can no longer do so. It’s a sad day when people who make films that have no other purpose than to show how low human beings can go get as much attention as this piece of garbage. When I need to line my birdcage, Metropolis will now finally be put to some good use.—“clearsky54”*
What I find more disturbing is the mass marketing of violence on American television, such as the CSI franchise. I believe that it represents something deeply troubling about what Americans are interested in—as commonplace entertainment. Not that it is going to cause violence necessarily; rather, I think it reveals a disconnect. Because the viewer isn’t the victim, they can somehow feel safer in an unpredictable world. Inevitably, the victim has done something wrong—a choice, a place, a time. The apparent randomness of the victim’s fate reflects the fears that people have—of themselves being violently attacked—and that’s why it’s on primetime. They want to tell themselves that it’s not them, they wouldn’t have opened that door… but it’s fundamentally unhealthy, still. I suspect that “splatter” films have a similar appeal, and some kind of fetishization. Anyway, I will not be watching any of this stuff.—“onjenu”*
This genre actually sells well in the DVD business. You would be surprised how many people buy these movies. And in a way, it’s more surprising to hear how “disgusted” people are about them. Cinema and literature have for decades/centuries been exploring the borderland of human nature. Hollywood and non-Hollywood movies have for decades churned out movies that were shocking for their time. If people have seen Hostel or Saw, or many of the groundbreaking movies from the ’60s/’70s, then there is absolutely nothing new about Grotesque.—“morriconelover”**
Lisa Gray’s article about AETs and dispatch companies was interesting (The Last Word, September 25). It seems the golden era of young people from native-speaking countries teaching English for a substantial reward has ended. In 1999-2000 I worked as an AET on the JET Program for a year in a small town near Mito City, Ibaraki. As I’d already gotten my Master’s in ESL, working in a Junior High School environment wasn’t really my cup of tea, so I ran out my contract and then moved down to Tokyo to find “a real job”. A few years later, when I was working quite happily as a college English instructor, I would often run into AETs employed by these dispatch companies when I was out and about. They would invariably tell me horror stories about their working conditions. For the first time, I realized how lucky I was to have caught the tail-end of the era when JETs worked directly for a local Board of Education. Although I didn’t care much for my year in JET at the time, I now appreciate the firm foundation it gave me for a nine-year working stay in Japan.—“mklug”*
Regarding “Intermixi” (Pop Life, September 25) and anime tourism: This is obsession at its peak, which is why they’re called “Otaku,” but after all these years I still find it somewhat disturbing and weird. I wouldn’t visit a nation for something as trivial as this. If they were here on the basis of seeing Japan in its entirety, that would be normal—but then, as always, to each their own. If this sort of (weird) thing rocks their boat, then who are we to criticize?—“Brantastik”**
* Via the Metropolis online comment threads
** Via the Japan Today comment threads
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