Everybody and his brother has an opinion on “The Innocence of Muslims” and the intense global protests, deaths and condemnation it has incited. For most Americans it seems to run along the lines of a really jerk-faced way of pissing on people and then hiding behind the First Amendment, anger with a response that has turned murderous, notwithstanding.
I largely agree. I know I love my First Amendment, but I’m likely just as inured to this sort of dipshitery after a lifetime full of art, of high quality and utter crap, taking aim at Christianity. I’m used to writing it off as someone laying bare their own feelings and striving not to take it personally (with varying degrees of success).
But what really infuriates and hurts me is the possibility that the filmmakers got for it under completely false pretenses. Actors were apparently invited to make a movie called “Desert Warrior,” and then the film they made was heavily edited and dubbed to go from being an action/adventure in the desert to a polemic screed against Islam.
It just sickens me to think that someone’s creative efforts were taken away from their intentions and, without their knowledge or permission, reformed to create something far different. It’s horrific. It just doesn’t get worse than finding something you had put your effort to, ideally something you created by tapping into the essence of yourself – your soul or your heart – an effort that would never be identical if anyone else had done it, has been broken apart and put back together to say something other than what you originally expressed. The word for that is “perversion.”
It’s a violation on a level so profound and immeasurable that no wonder there seems to be no real legal recourse. How could anyone quantify one’s inner world, the resources actors and other artists draw on in order to create? Fucking with the creative outcome to suit someone else’s agenda…. It’s gross. It’s wrong. And yet somehow it’s not illegal.
I think it’s bullshit to avoid trying to write laws against this simply because they may be tough to enforce. At the very least, the legal apparatus and the government that stands behind it could note that using someone’s efforts for an endeavor they haven’t agreed to is frowned upon. Musicians get to tell politicians not to use their songs in campaigns they don’t agree with, why can’t actors?
I like the idea of remixing and I’m quite relieved “fair use” laws exist. But there has to be a delineation in the realm of art that applies the old adage “your rights end where my nose begins.”
And for the love all things beautiful and sacred in this world we have all got to let go of our anger.