Oppressive Silencing

A petition has been circulating around the places I frequent online, urging people to further spread it to reach its goal of collecting one million signatures. The purpose? To stop Uwe Boll from making more movies.

I have stated before that while he doesn’t make great movies, at the very least, he makes entertaining ones. Some may argue that he’s entertaining through utter ineptitude, and that getting B-movie laughs isn’t the same as writing something witty, but I think that’s missing the point.

So, Boll makes movies that you don’t like. So? I don’t like fanfiction or furry porn or magazines where the guys on the front are so muscle-y that you can see every one of their veins in bulging detail. I know I don’t like these things, so I don’t read, watch, or buy them. Who then, exactly, is forcing you to sit in a theater and watch Uwe Boll movies? Is it at gunpoint? Knifepoint? Or just the utter fanboy obsessiveness that dictates that if a movie is being made on a subject you’re tangentially interested in, you MUST see it?

While you think that passing around these petitions might eliminate that temptation or morbid curiosity from your life, I see it as something far more sinister. You’re trampling on speech; the best, truest, and most free thing we have. It’s what allows me to bitch about recycling one day, and insinuate I would do terrible, terrible things to Johnny Depp in the dark of the night the next. I spout my opinion off regularly, uninvited, and most of the people who read this do the same; no one tells you to shut up or stop writing, and if they did, I doubt any of you would take heed. Many people who read this are artists or musicians–would you stop creating art or music if someone told you that your work is crappy and offensive?

What’s the difference between stifling your personal speech and stifling his creativity?

39 Comments Oppressive Silencing

  1. scearley April 9, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    It’s not that the should stop making movies, but that he was dumb enough to say it. I mean, he drops the “10,000 signatures won’t do it” line and he was dumb enough to answer the “So how many would it take?” follow-up.

    I wouldn’t care one way or the other if he didn’t float that biscuit. Now I want to see if he keeps his word.

    1. admin April 9, 2008 at 7:39 pm

      I’m disgusted that the question was asked in the first place.

      1. scearley April 9, 2008 at 7:41 pm

        so you are defending Boll to do whatever he wants in terms of speech/making movies by being pissed that someone used their rights to free speech and asked him a question?

        1. admin April 9, 2008 at 7:50 pm

          Oh, people can feel free to say whatever they want. I just don’t always understand why people think it’s a free pass to be an asshole.

        2. admin April 9, 2008 at 7:59 pm

          For example, at PAX during the question and answer session, it’s almost as if people were in a competition to see who could say the most hurtful or offensive remark to him; I understand that offensive speech more than anything needs to be protected, but I suppose I don’t understand the nature of some people to be jerks for the sake of being jerks, especially when in general I try to treat people in the manner in which I wish to be treated.

          It also seems an unprofessional thing for a journalist to ask.

    1. admin April 10, 2008 at 6:27 am

      I desperately want to take that guy’s suit jacket and shorten the sleeves.

  2. kettle_whistle April 9, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    I have the link to said petition on my blog, yet I could not give a toss if the man continues to make his crappy movies or not.

    However, I am interested to see what he’d do if a million people really did sign. Personally, I think the guy courts, enjoys and thrives on the attention – he did after all invite his critics into the boxing ring. Would his audience (and therefore his revenue) be as healthy without this public persona he has so obviously encouraged? Doubtful – and I bet all the greenbacks make great Kleenex…

    1. admin April 9, 2008 at 8:09 pm

      No doubt he gets something out of the feedback, but then again, if you’ll go back and read my entry on PAX, you may be interested in knowing that he doesn’t write the movies, and does the best he can with what he’s been given. In that regard, I think he has a right to be defensive; with the same starting material, could anyone have done much better?

      1. kettle_whistle April 9, 2008 at 9:51 pm

        If you link to your entry, I’ll certainly read it. However, I maybe I didn’t state my indifference clearly enough:

        I don’t care about his films – I am just interested to see what this person will do if the internet community call his bluff.

        Perhaps the style of my blog post (which admitedly all of about 5 people read) makes it seem like I do care but in reality that’s just clever use of language to encourage the fairly unlikely achievement of a million responses.

        Furthermore, I tend not to presume that Directors write movies. I do however presume that they get to read the script before they accept the job. My Dad always said a bad craftsman always blames his tools, and I think that applies here.

        I’d just as soon ask studios to leave video games and horror remakes alone, and instead focus on original art. Now that’s something I wish the online community would get behind – but as yet no studio executive as been so stupid as to invite such a petition.

        1. admin April 10, 2008 at 6:12 am

          Points well made. 🙂 I’m torn on the issue of remakes–sometimes, with a fresh spin, it can make a movie what it was always meant to be…but most of the time, I think it’s just a way to cash in on a name. That’s the difference between, say, House on Haunted Hill (which I felt was an excellent remake) vs the NEW Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which was a giant turd.

  3. khallis April 9, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    Speaking as an artist and writer, the difference is that my mistakes don’t become canon to beloved universes.

    You might be more offended by furry porn if the IP rights to one of your preferred pieces of fiction were acquired by a furry porn writer, and subsequent works by the original author were forced to accept that continuity.

    I think he’s got every creative argument to make his OWN festeringly stupid films. My beef is that he’s moving in on stuff I like, and making it suck.

    1. admin April 9, 2008 at 8:03 pm

      What has Uwe done that’s become canon?

      I’ve sen plenty of movies, games, books, and comics that disregard whatever part of canon they feel doesn’t fit in with the flow, so how hard is it to disregard movies nearly universally rejected by fans of the series?

      Any author who allows their intelluctual property rights to be signed off here, there, and everywhere deserves whatever they get, frankly.

  4. pretzelcoatl April 9, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    I don’t know what it is, but there seems to be a lot of gamers who have big entitlement complexes about… well, everything. If Uwe Boll made a Shin Megami Tensei movie, of course I’d be kinda pissed, but I just won’t watch it.

    In conclusion: pancakes.

    1. admin April 9, 2008 at 8:06 pm

      I think there are a lot of people with entitlement complexes in general. I think the simpsons writers summed it up best in the Itchy, Scratchy, and Poochie episode:

      Bart: Hey, I know it wasn’t great, but what right do you have to complain?
      Comic Book Guy: As a loyal viewer, I feel they owe me.
      Bart: What? They’re giving you thousands of hours of entertainment for free. What could they possibly owe you? If anything, you owe them.
      Comic Book Guy: [pauses] Worst episode ever.

      1. pretzelcoatl April 9, 2008 at 8:09 pm

        This is true. I just seem to notice it around the game/anime/book/TV show/movie fans (well, fans in general) more often, although I suppose if I look hard enough I can see it in other groups of people I associate with.

        See also: Harry Potter. *shudder*

        1. admin April 9, 2008 at 8:24 pm


  5. hotshotrobot April 9, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    What’s the difference between stifling your personal speech and stifling his creativity?

    One of these two things doesn’t actually exist?

    (DISCLAIMER: I have never seen a Uwe Boll movie. Who the fuck is this guy?)

    1. admin April 9, 2008 at 8:27 pm

      Movie director/producer, most well-known for being heavily videogame-centric:
      House of the Dead
      BloodRayne 1 & 2
      Alone in the Dark

      Notorious for inviting his most verbal critics into the boxing ring.

  6. autonomic_pilot April 9, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    I am totally unfamiliar with him so I can’t speak to this situation directly. Since I’m working, I won’t be able to research and then make a worthwhile post in my friend’s blog thus proving my intellectual prowess and willingness to do the work and learn the issues. I will not do this because I am not a winnar. I never will be. I eat animal crackers.

    That said, people can sign whatever they want… it doesn’t bind him. In fact, I think all the publicity, negative or no, is a huuuuge plus for this guy. All kinds of folks who are outraged at his offenses (whatever they are) will be speaking loudly about it to others not in the know (ala: me). Those others will then go find out about him and some may even spend money on him (or at least contribute to his ad revenue).

    If there are ever actually a million signatures and he shoves it in their collective face by doing something even more awful in response (and going back on whatever word he may have given), I think his revenues will go up even more. Eventually he can retire at a young age with all the $$ his offensiveness made his detractors generate for him.

    I give it all two sideways “meh” ratings as I am a capitalist pig who would like to be rich and is endeavoring to become so.

    1. admin April 9, 2008 at 9:14 pm

      I didn’t know that eating animal crackers = instant lose.

      I’m well aware that signing this petition, even if it gets to 1,000,000 signatures, will not legally bind or prevent him from doing anything in any way; moreso, I want my friends who’ve been supporting this to think about WHY they are supporting it, and further deciding if it has meaning beyond the surface.

      Unfortunately, I cannot shower you with riches until I’m world dictator. 🙁

      1. autonomic_pilot April 9, 2008 at 9:21 pm

        Animal crackers = my secret crack.

        Yeah, I know you know (and I know you know I know you know). But I am full of the melancholy of late. This won’t amount to a hill of beans, methinks, and is going to qualify as wasted effort. If people believe in something, great, I’m not going to get in the way of that… but I think that this does not have much meaning beyond the surface for the believers. In fact, I think it’s likely to be accomplishing the exact opposite of the intended effect.

        I am keen to wait on the riches until you are a dictator or I have dominated my field and crushed all who oppose me. If I make it to the rich first, you totally don’t have to pay me to be your number 2.

        1. admin April 9, 2008 at 9:28 pm

          I wouldn’t be alltogether too surprised if, as you allude, this is manipulating people to generate more press.

          Which, of course, I also approve of and even applaud when it’s skillfully done.

          On a related note, you probably shouldn’t have told me what your weakness is, number 2.

          1. autonomic_pilot April 9, 2008 at 9:34 pm

            I approve of it too as it takes some skillful manipulative powers to achieve something like that. I also approve of it when such a maneuver is uncovered by enterprising investigators as they are rewarded for their intellect and independence. In the end, this still gets a “meh” as I don’t really mind much one way or the other at this time.

            If I tell you about my weakness, it is all the more likely “to be used against me”. Since I would have done what you ask anyway, I get a bribe on top and will have a temporarily sated addiction. See how tricksy I am? I manipulate as I am manipulated. And hey, free animal crackers.

          2. admin April 10, 2008 at 6:04 am

            Win/Win. Want some milk with your animal crackers?

  7. fraxl April 9, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    what’s super SUPER funny is that the guy who started this whole petition nonsense is sitting like six feet behind me. 🙂

    1. admin April 9, 2008 at 9:29 pm

      Seriously? HAHA!

      Does he understand that he’s likely being manipulated by Boll to generate more press?

      1. fraxl April 9, 2008 at 9:41 pm

        i think he’s just having fun. apparently the new york times called his his former employer (monolith!) looking to interview him.

        1. admin April 10, 2008 at 6:06 am

          Oh New York Times, when did you stop reporting newsworthy news?

  8. lemur68 April 10, 2008 at 3:51 am

    These gamers are seriously upset over these movies?

    File Under: Subcultures I Do Not Understand

    1. admin April 10, 2008 at 6:19 am

      I understand why they want a good movie; due to the nature of interactive storytelling, oftentimes writers can’t go as deep as they’d like or they have to rely on extensive cutscenes and pages of dialogue which is unwise; so if someone enjoyed a game and would like to know more about a particular story/created universe, a movie is an ideal continuation.

      So when movie writers pick up a game license and disregard what happened in the game entirely, I’m sure it’s a disappointment. The thing is, the games that this particular director has made into movies were never story-intensive to begin with, so I don’t see what everyone is getting so upset about–they might bear the game name, but the stories themselves don’t bear much resemblance, so it’s not exactly the desecration the game community espouses.

  9. shadowstitch April 9, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    “Hey, would you sign my petition?”

    Maybe you should start another petition to nullify the first petition.

  10. polyester_queen April 9, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    Have a million people actually seen his movies? lol

    I think the whole thing is ridiculous. His movies are complete trainwrecks. Why would anyone want the funny to end? 🙁

    1. admin April 9, 2008 at 9:24 pm

      I dunno, but I love him for the same reason I love Ed Wood. Bad movies make me happy in a special sort of way!

  11. benzarius April 9, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    I signed it, but not necessarily out of giving a rats ass about what boll does, but rather I just want to make a point that Hollywood needs to start treating these IP’s with a bit more respect. I think a lot of people are tired of getting their childhood crapped all over just so company x can make a few bucks. It would be nice to see an actually good video game/80’s cartoon/comic book movie for a change, rather than something that studios just shat out knowing that many people will go anyways.

    Granted, the original IP’s may not have been gems themselves. Transformers was no exception. But it was a kids cartoon. Now the kids have all grown up. It’s time for the studios to say either “we don’t give two shits about the people that helped make these franchises big in the first place” or “uh…sorry. we’ll start acknowledging that the people who liked ‘Iron Man’ as children will probably be pissed if it’s a turd.”

    1. admin April 10, 2008 at 6:09 am

      The inverse could be said about the game/movie relationship as well, though. How many craptacular videogames are licensed IPs to currently popular movies, hoping to cash in, knowing that a million parents are going to buy it just because it’s ‘shrek’ or ‘harry potter’ or whatever? Shit, the last company I worked at made a game and then tried to associate it with a 20 year old license just for the name recognition, even though it wasn’t developed with that license in mind. They’re all just as guilty, and I think pointing a finger at Boll is misguided in that respect.

  12. earthdotprime April 10, 2008 at 5:55 am

    i don’t think it’s about actually getting him to stop. i think that much like our (the b-movie masochist hive mind) desire to get in a boxing ring with Mr Boll to show our displeasure, every so often, we need to lash out in a way that is more than just howling at large screen while trying to gauge our eyes out with icepicks.

    it’s like voting for green party candidates. sure, it’s not gonna change anything, but sometimes it just makes you feel better.

    1. admin April 10, 2008 at 6:20 am

      You can get into the movie theater with icepicks? I can’t even manage to smuggle candy inside. 🙁

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