17 March 2008

Flipped! by Alan Smithee

So last night I watched a two and a half hour documentary about abortion. It's called Lake of Fire. And it was good. But first a note about director Tony Kaye.

Tony Kaye directed the video for Soul Asylum's Runaway Train.

Tony Kaye also directed American History X, which was released a decade ago, but I can assure you its rabble still rouses American college students, as more than a couple of mine provided it as a suggestion for the film we watch during our open final week of class. But Kaye wasn't happy with the film in finished form, claiming that Ed Norton had re-edited it to give himself more screen time ... the director wanted his name removed from the film and replaced with "Alan Smithee." The Director's Guild wouldn't let him.

["Alan Smithee" is the go-to-pseudonym of disgruntled auteurs and it has a rich 40 year history. Among other things, Smithee directed the pilot of MacGyver and "The OJ Simpson Story" and wrote "The Tony Blair Witch Project."]

Lake of Fire steers admirably toward objectivity (you don't need an eerie score or unequal time to make the crazies sound like crazies) and gains a lot from its scope. The pundits range from the deranged to the incomparably erudite (Noam Chomsky) and the footage spans over a decade, so it is extra chilling, for instance, to see interviews with both a doctor and the radical "pro-lifer" who would kill him soon after.


1). The brother of Eric Rudolph - the infamous Olympic bomber and lam-survivor (sort of a Neo-Nazi Christopher McCandless) - sent a videotape of himself severing his own hand with an electric saw to the FBI in order to protest the media coverage of the manhunt for his brother. Eric Rudolph's webpage is kept up and on it, you can read such tracts as "Feminism, by Eric Rudolph" (which sounds funny at first but isn't at all ... ideologically diseased as he is, he isn't stupid ... he's an exhaustive reader and an exhausting writer.)

2). [sadder, more important] Who put the Roe in Roe v. Wade? 'Twas one Norma McCorvey (named in court proceedings as "Jane Roe" for anonymity). Where is she now? Well at a 1994 booksigning for her book "I am Roe," the out-lesbian McCorvey was confronted by born-again pro-life activist Flip Benham. Benham worked his necromancy and now Roe herself works for his anti-abortion coalition Operation Rescue. Her baptism by Benham (pictured above) was televised. She is, of course, no longer gay. She got Flipped.

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