Why you should not watch the Watchmen

(Warning – some of this may actually be triggering for some of you).

I decided long before the Watchmen film was even made, let alone released, that I wouldn’t be watching it. This was not out of some great moral objection or anything like that – I just didn’t want to see it. But now, I *do* have a moral objection to seeing it…

I already knew this film would be very far from my kind of thing – things like Jog’s review where he says

If, as artist Frank Santoro recently remarked, the original comics were “a Lutheran reformation text knocking on the door of the Catholic establishment by a devout believer,” then the movie kicks down the castle church’s door, leaps onto the altar and pounds all the wine in sight ‘cause it just don’t care and then it flexes its muscles and slips on its shades before saying “the treasures of the indulgences are nets with which they now fish for the riches of men.” Then it pulls out a skateboard and grinds down a pew out a window. Also, this happens after the Enlightenment.

show me that whatever merits it has are not ones I’m interested in. But that’s fine – I’m also not interested in seeing that film about lesbian vampires that’s coming out, or the one with Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston. I’m not quite egocentric enough to think that every film should be made specifically for me. But having read a post by the hateful little turd David Hayter, I am convinced that there is a very strong case that seeing this film, and thus giving this ‘person’ any more money, is actually an immoral act.

The bulk of the post is basically what you’d expect – he, as writer of the film, believes it’s the greatest thing ever, and that if you don’t go and watch it and earn him more money then you’re sending a message to the studios that you don’t want to see films with ‘brains and balls’. He also manages to demonstrate that he completely, utterly missed the point of the original book with his talk about ‘Rorshach fans’, and compares this Zak Snyder film with works by Kubrick and Coppolla, thus demonstrating his utter lack of qualifications to work in the film industry. But that’s more or less what I’d expect from something like this.

But then we get to something that disgusted even me – his message to those who aren’t planning to see the film:

Because face it. All this time…You there, with the Smiley-face pin. Admit it.

All this time, you’ve been waiting for a director who was going to hit you in the face with this story. To just crack you in the jaw, and then bend you over the pool table with this story. With its utterly raw view of the darkest sides of human nature, expressed through its masks of action and beauty and twisted good intentions. Like a fry-basket full of hot grease in the face. Like the Comedian on the Grassy Knoll. I know, I know…

You say you don’t like it. You say you’ve got issues. I get it.

And yet… You’ll be thinking about this film, down the road. It’ll nag at you. How it was rough and beautiful. How it went where it wanted to go, and you just hung on. How it was thoughtful and hateful and bleak and hilarious. And for Jackie Earle Haley.

Trust me. You’ll come back, eventually. Just like Sally.

For those of you who don’t know, the ‘Sally’ he refers to here is a character in the comic, who was the victim of an assault and attempted rape but who much later had a brief affair with her attacker. This was one of the less savoury parts of the original work – Alan Moore does unfortunately have a tendency to overuse scenes of sexual violence in his work – but Moore and Gibbons definitely present it as a *bad* thing. You don’t come away from the work thinking ‘she wanted it’ (the character herself comes away thinking that maybe she had led him on, but that’s something that rings true) or that the Comedian’s actions are anything other than reprehensible and disgusting.

I don’t know… I know this doesn’t go well with my posts about Dave Sim, but I just have a hard time with the idea that someone who considers a rapist a character it’s a good idea to favourably compare himself to, and who thinks that the general public all secretly want to be metaphorically raped by him and his filmmaking friends, is someone who should be encouraged.

He’s asking people to send a message to the studios… well, I know what message *I* want to send, and it isn’t ‘make more films with David Hayter scripts’…

(Internet connection still essentially non-existent. TalkTalk still not bothering to do anything about this. We’re moving in a couple of weeks, so hopefully a new phone line and a new phone company will mean I’ll be able to update this on a more frequent basis again).

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18 Responses to Why you should not watch the Watchmen

  1. James Graham says:

    Oh my God! I suppose the clue was in the David Brent beard.

    To be honest, I didn’t need to read this article to figure out there were some nasy misogynists working on that film.

  2. Pingback: Quaequam Blog! » My Watchmen Review (SPOILERS)

  3. Jennie says:

    You boys really are very lovely, you know.

    * hugs *

    Damn you for spoiling my misandry! :P

  4. Robert says:

    “All this time, you’ve been waiting for a director who was going to hit you in the face with this story. To just crack you in the jaw, and then bend you over the pool table with this story.”

    and then bend you over the pool table with this story and then bend you over the pool table with this story and then bend you over the pool table with this story and then bend you over the pool table with this story

    Nerds are afraid of me. I’ve seen its true face. Its frightened scared little “ma! I’m a big boy!” face (with blood over the eye, after a beating it can never forget), desperatly trying to beat itself up so it’ll be very tough against such a scary and awful world, to not be a fagtard. The true face of everything nerd-related post-watchmen (all the Bendis and all the Millars). All the misunderstandings that the work is grown up and mature because it has lots of killing, rape and fucking (as Snyder said). If not realizing Rorscharch is a disgusting loon, then liking him even more because of it (because it wants so badly to be anything near the status of intimidating).

    “Trust me. You’ll come back, eventually. Just like Sally.”

    Midnight. Boom.

  5. pillock says:

    Yeah, what the man said. There’s too much irony here, and it’s too close to a lighted match, for safety. Yikes.

  6. Andrew J Bonia says:

    You know I read an article mentioning that Hayter had written a letter begging people to see his film twice. It failed to mention the whole “see it or I’ll rape you like you want me to” angle. Cripes.

  7. Leon says:

    Dear god please don’t get me started about Dave Sim…

  8. Andrew Hickey says:

    Oh, please *do* start about Sim ;) If you look through my archives, you’ll see that I consider Sim the single greatest comic creator in the history of the medium, and also the holder of some of the most abhorrent views I’ve ever come across…

  9. Leon says:

    No! I like my blood pressure within normal limits thank you very much! I loved Cerebus but his crap about women is just beyond words. It fucked up a fantastic read and totally borked the greatness of Cerebus’ journey.

    I don’t think he’s the single greatest comic creator in the history of the medium however, that accolade goes the man of magic from Northhampton. ;)

  10. Andrew Hickey says:

    Moore is the most talented writer ever to work in the medium, by a long way. But he’s not an all-round creator – his art is perfunctory at best. On the other hand, Sim as a comic writer is at least worthy of mention in the same breath as Moore – not *as* good, but not made laughable by the comparison, as almost all other comic writers are. He’s also the best letterer ever except maybe Todd Klein, probably in my top ten favourite comic artists as far as ability to draw, well, in a variety of styles goes, and second only to Eisner for layouts.

    There are a handful of people who are a bit better at one thing, but *no-one* who’s anywhere near as good at everything.

  11. Leon says:

    I don’t know I don’t rate Sim’s art at all, never have. Moore’s creations have always just been a better read and more consistent in quality imo. Yeah and not having some insane sexist tirade dressed up as a critique of feminism helps too..

  12. Zom says:

    We’ve been over this on Barbelith before, but I just don’t get the Moore overuses rape thing. Yes it’s there in bunch of his work, but surely the objection hinges around the idea that rape is trivialised by overuse as a plot element, and that’s not an argument that I can get behind, at least in this instance, because rape is never presented *as trivial* in Moore’s works. In fact I’d go further and suggest that Moore’s deliberate and consistent attempts to link rape to violence and power are actually of value.

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      Rape is trivialised in the first two League books (or you could read it that way) and arguably in parts of Lost Girls.
      You’re right that certainly Moore’s attitude towards sexual violence is more nuanced than that of most writers, and certainly the deliberate choice to remove anything even remotely arousing from the Ripper murders in From Hell and to link those murders to objectification of women is an entirely good thing, but to my mind the cumulative impact of his work (and this is a purely aesthetic judgement on my part) is to make rape and sexual violence seem overall more ‘normal’.
      That’s purely a personal judgement though, and not something I’m holding out as an absolute capital-t Truth. And it certainly doesn’t make me think his work isn’t very worthwhile…

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      Oh, and just so you know, I *will* be blogging more about actual comics soon. It’s just the last couple of months have been so *dire* as far as stuff worth writing about goes…

  13. Zom says:

    Ah, yeah, I’d forgotten about the stuff in LOEG vol 1. Hmmm, I’d have to read it again, but I’m wondering if it’s defensible, especially given what becomes of Griffin in vol 2. That Hyde business has never struck me as trivialising the subject.

    Lost Girls I’ve not read, but my sister, a tried and true feminist in the more hardcore political definition of the word, didn’t find anything wrong with it. That’s not obviously an argument in and of itself, but it suggests to me that, again, the inclusion of rape is defensible.

    Not sure I really want to read Lost Girls though (I’m embarrassed about what my wife will think, honest guvnor!)

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      My wife bought my copy ;)
      There is a lot of *extremely* dodgy stuff in Lost Girls, but even within the fiction it’s generally presented as fantasy, and as far as I can recall no-one is presented as enjoying anything non-consensual in ‘reality’. And given that it’s overwhelmingly presented from the women’s perspective, I don’t see a problem with it from a feminist perspective per se. However, a lot of the ‘book within a book’ stuff plays on rape fantasies and so on.
      Lost Girls is something you should definitely read *at some point* – it’s a masterpiece, and an Important Work and all that – but it’s a surprisingly clinical work, and not something I’d get hugely bothered about were I you.

  14. Zom says:

    My wife definitely won’t be buying me a copy.

    Despite knowing me for seven years she still, on some fundamental level, thinks comics are for weirdos.

  15. Sintzin Soledad says:

    Hmm, I read your post. It doesn’t seem like he’s comparing himself to a rapist. It seems like he’s comparing the audience to a rape victim who gets Stockholm Syndrome and has consensual sex with her attacker. I don’t think he meant to compare himself to a rapist.

    Even so he should think before saying stuff, because it could make him look bad.

    In the Hayter script I read it doesn’t portray The Comedian’s attack on Sally Jupiter; it has happened and characters refer to it. The scene where Laurie Jupiter attacks Edward Blake is in the Hayter script.

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