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It always struck me as odd that angry dudes on the Internet think “social justice” is a threat to everything good and pure in this world, but one redditor’s hysterical rant about identity politics and the death of filmmaking really raises the bar for privileged whining.
“I just sat through a night of indoctrination and been kicked in the nuts by the social justice agenda. I’m so fucking done,” wrote Nicholas Henderson, a.k.a. Rebelarch, in a post on the subreddit r/KotakuInAction (also known as a fiercely misogynist hub for the Gamergate movement). He was furious over his failure to win glory at Campus MovieFest, the world’s largest student film festival, with a five-minute short called Loot.
Why did Henderson’s movie flop? Because of those damn ladies and queers, of course.
My cast and crew went through a grueling 100 hour shoot in 6 days. I spent three 20 hour editing sessions to cut the movie right after and hand it in by the deadline. Little did we know, we fucked up. We didn’t need to compose shots, fight the sun for perfect lighting, develop a coherent script, wait for wind, planes, and motorcycles to pass to get good audio. No you could take an afternoon, not know how to use a camera, no need for proper ISO, aperture, shutter, or even a fucking color balance, hell your footage could be completely over exposed or crushed in black to the point where the image can’t be made out, the audio could be sloppy with noise, popping, essing, and inaudible. You could take this one afternoon and film absolute shit, and hand in a recognition worthy film as long as you were in on the agenda. As long as you knew what was up, and got it. Just include homosexual relationships, transgender identity, rape, sex trafficking, poverty, domestic violence against women and you’ll be in.
By now you’re probably wondering what Loot is actually about, if not these supposedly unimportant and pandering topics. Well, I’m glad you asked.
Are [sic] film was beautiful, it was genuine, creative, and clever. Hell it had to be for what we pulled off with the amateur equipment. I layered multiple video feeds together to have action play on multiple screens cut to fit the screen like comic book panels, and all these screens and feeds synced up, they all cut on action fluidly. A character would move off one panel as it moved into another. I then layered all the video again and added a bloom effect to give us that video game feel and look. I built a monster with my own hands starting with a pvc frame work, building it up with epoxy and carving it out. I made 30 props in just one week by myself. Swords, spears, shields, potions, spell books. I had a text book perfect script about a young adventurer who seizes his first loot only to have it stolen. It was our own world, where video game and anime tropes were real, were old men handed out swords and quests, and you had to pay rent and buy food with loot. It was pure and only about the story, and it was shit canned bc it didn’t try to infect anyone with a way of thinking. I can’t even show you are [sic] film, bc this trash organizations now owns it and I haven’t recieved permission yet to give it the proper treatment it deserves.
Oh, but that’s where Henderson is wrong. You can watch his unsung masterpiece in full right here:
Even Reddit’s gaming geeks couldn’t stomach this trainwreck. “I don’t think the subject matter had anything to do with you losing,” said one critic. “I literally cringed and closed the window and went to take a shower,” said another. “Next time though, if I may make a recommendation, I’d suggest you use a different everything,” quipped a third.
Not content with the shameful hole he was in, Henderson dug deeper, calling out three finalists he felt had scammed their way to success by exploring anything other than a high-fantasy video game universe with lots of LARP-y swordplay—including a short, affecting documentary on life as a transgender woman and a cautionary tale about Uber and Lyft.
Redditors were at pains to point out the technical superiority of these films as well, though a few jumped on Henderson’s hate-wagon. “Art fits in well with the SJW ideology,” a self-avowed expert declaimed. “You can’t be ‘wrong’ and your thoughts/feelings can’t be questioned, because art is whatever you say it is. A guy sucking himself off can literally be an expression of anything, if you can spin the bullshit well enough.” Another argued that video games “are one of the places where art is still valued. SJW’s are trying to destroy what art is acceptable there and, like OP, it usually has to do more with agenda than beauty.”
What did Henderson learn from being crushed under the bootheel of militant otherism? A bitter lesson indeed:
Our only take away from CMF, is film making doesn’t need to be so hard, we don’t need to keep putting so much effort in and having pride in our work. We no longer have to stress over our capabilities and create something of quality. You just need an idea. You don’t even have to put in the work to turn the idea into anything actionable. The idea just has to be agreeable with the agenda. Take that idea that isn’t flushed out or completed, and just film, don’t compose the shot, set the lights, or worry about what all those damn buttons on the camera are, just roll camera, show us a montage of shots that don’t visually tell a story, and just have a voice over explaining your idea. Then, if your idea is righteous and worthy, if it’s apart of the agenda you will be invited in, you will get work, and be celebrated. This social justice movement really boils my blood. I just want to stop being pushed to think and feel things I have no inclination to think and feel. I want the work to matter again not the intentions behind it. This SJW bullshit is too oppressive, too influential, and just too much.
Miles Klee is a novelist and web culture reporter. The former editor of the Daily Dot’s Unclick section, Klee’s essays, satire, and fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, 3:AM, Salon, the Awl, the New York Observer, the Millions, and the Village Voice. He's the author of two odd books of fiction, 'Ivyland' and 'True False.'