The term Streisand effect to denote “an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely” rubs me the wrong way (perhaps because I sense homage in critique, in this case perhaps to pop culture fame) but it seems an apt description of reactions to Innocence of Muslims.
I watched (see above) the trailer. If I didn’t know that lots of people were upset about it, I’d class it as camp. I have a hard time not viewing it as such. People claiming it is disgusting and with no artistic merit are expressing some kind of tiresome responsibility and solidarity. Artistically, the trailer seems so comically bad that’s it’s good.
Because it is so bad/good, and now famous, I’m guessing that Innocence will spark lots of “remix culture” (another dreadful term, oh well). Some obvious things to watch for:
- Sharing the trailer many places besides YouTube, the centrality of which warps discussions of free speech.
- Leaking of the whole (apparently 74 minute) film.
- The 74 minute film may not exist, but this doesn’t mean a 74 minute Innocence can’t be created. An early attempt to do so seems to simply loop the trailer and perhaps add in some news footage.
- It seems that the trailer is constantly making reference to historic events or religious text passages, but lacking detailed knowledge of the relevant history and books, they all go over my head. Annotations indicating the events and passages referred to, and further material supporting or refuting their interpretations in the film, would be very helpful.
- Given the generic campy-actors-hanging-out-in-a-desert scenes that dominate the trailer, and suggested by the use of overdubbing in the original, it shouldn’t be too hard to repurpose the material for films supporting (or opposing) every desert-origin religion (there are many; bonus for any of the vast majority without current adherents) or merely for depicting family feuds and other soap operatic themes set in a desert.
- The most currently valuable and pertinent remix would be a historical allegory, in which the marauder/murderer/rapist/torturer figures represent the current U.S.-led terror war.
- There are many bad, bad/good, and perhaps some good, desert-religion films which could be used to supplement material from Innocence for any of the above. The ethnicity of the actors is aligned with lots of USian portrayals, especially older ones.
- There’s once scene of a man bound to a pole that could be plausibly reinterpreted as the Christ (ignoring that implausibility) and added to The Mashin’ of.
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