Language & Composition

Mr. Eure | Brewster High School

QORAS: Edelstein’s “Now Playing”

The following article and attendant set of questions on rhetoric and style have been edited and altered somewhat from the unit overview. Use these in place of those.

You’ll have a day to read the article and start to answer the questions, and then we will break up a collective read-through by addressing as many of them as we can. This will be done as an adversarial, which means that you will be called on directly; after the initial attempt, you will be able to work in groups to flesh out answers, and you will earn points both individually and in groups toward a Q2 adversarial score. On Friday, you will be able to choose which of these questions we begin with; if you prepare in advance, you can accelerate your learning of the material by quite a bit.

Because next week is truncated by Thanksgiving, we will revisit our plans then. We may continue with Edelstein, switch to Dustin Rowles and Captivity, or break entirely for three days on Native American mascots. Regardless of the decision there, you can use the comments section of this post to earn adversarial credit for discussing and refining your understanding of these questions. [Note: Comments closed 11/28 at 7:30am.]

Note: You may also with to create a Google Drive document in which you collaborate in groups or as an entire class on these questions. That kind of work will earn you adversarial credit; just make sure to share the document with me before you get going.


74 responses to “QORAS: Edelstein’s “Now Playing”

  1. Marissa Milazzo November 15, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Within this piece written by David Edelstein, he has almost an informal approach. Right off the back, Edelstein starts off with a simple rhetorical question “seen any good surgery on unanesthetized people lately?” To me, as the reader, I found it very interesting. However, I didn’t really appreciate it, the informality of it made me feel less focused and it was hard to take him seriously. Another piece I did not appreciate was when Edelstein states “In the same way that some women cut themselves (they say) to feel something…” I was very confused as to why he focuses only on women when it comes to such a serious matter. This writing choice he choose turned me a little off. Did anyone else feel the same?

    • William Eckner November 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm

      I agree that the rhetorical question establishes an informal tone for the article. I had a different response to the informality though. I think that the question catches the reader off guard a bit because of its informality and its absurdity. I liked that, but I can understand how someone may not be so amused.

      The rhetorical question mimics a casual conversation, if you ignore the content. Edelstein poses the question as if he is asking about the weather or how your weekend went and yet he is talking about a pretty disturbing subject, or so it seems. In the next sentence, he reveals that he’s just talking about a film, which is something that is frequently the subject of informal conversations. I think that the casualness with which Edelstein speaks about killing and torture is a way of commenting on how accepted and popular they are in movies and culture.

      • Colin Cavanagh November 15, 2012 at 9:53 pm

        I agree with you about why Edelstein uses such an informal tone throughout. I for one found this to be amusing, especially how in his first question he asks if we’ve seen any “good” unanasthetized surgery lately (as if we have enough experience with this to judge whether it is “good” or “bad.”)
        At the same time, I think Edelstein’s casualness was purposely off-putting, as he is trying to get us to see that “torture porn” films have no place within our culture. I thought that Edelstein’s entire purpose was to persuade us that these films are not “art” in any way, shape or form, and his casualness while discussing the atrocious events of these films was meant to help us reach this conclusion.

        • Jared Hunter November 19, 2012 at 11:48 am

          When you talk of the “amusement” factor, I agree as well. The use of “good” in the opening sentence really is a bit of a rhetorical question, since most of the individuals who are reading have no clue of what can be considered a “good” or “bad” surgery. Successful or unsuccessful yes, but there is a bit of a blurred line between the simple terms. I loved how Edelstein formed the question in a common conversational manner, but I feel that he did this to sort of, desensitize the motive behind the question or the gore-infested material inside it (unanesthetized surgery).

        • Kyle Riccardi November 20, 2012 at 11:46 am

          Colin, I agree with you about the purpose of his casual tone. I feel as though he tries to relate to the the reader so that the reader can really connect to the writer’s point of view. Also, by attempting to casually ask such horrific questions, it causes them to jump out to the reader and realize that there is nothing casual or normal about them. However, I feel as though the author is trying to portray “torture porn” as a style of art that appeals to most human beings. It is not an art to be taken literally, but is more of an idea that people enjoy relating to. People enjoy seeing horrific events take place that would otherwise be most likely impossible.

          • Conor Mitts November 20, 2012 at 11:57 am

            Kyle, i agree about your position on your casual tone stance, he does use it to connect to the reader better. However i do not think that’s how he wants to present torture porn. i believe that he is trying to get across that the real selling point of torture porn is the shock factor, people don’t go to see it to see the actual horrific events taking place, They attend for that shock that comes with it that feeling of disbelief of what they are seeing. they go for the thrill not to watch the black and white the actual atrocities being commited

            • Jack Kelly November 20, 2012 at 9:59 pm

              I agree with you Conor, I feel that Edelstein’s imformal approach to this piece really resonates with the reader because he isn’t talking down to the reader, he treats it more like a casual conversation between two friends, despite the fact that the rhetorical questions that come about would not be asked in a “normal conveersation”. I feel that he uses such graphic questions to illustrate to the reader how insane torture porn is, and that the films are not normal, so it should seem abnormal to the reader that this would come up in everyday, casual conversation.

    • Victoria Iarusso November 15, 2012 at 10:11 pm

      David Edelstein captures you with his simple rhetorical question “seen any good surgery on unanesthetized people lately?” From that moment on you are intrigued and continuing reading. I agree with you Marissa, that in paragraph #4 he says the same way some women cut themselves and I see where it’s offensive to woman. Why say only woman cut to feel. Then in paragraph #7 he talks about Carol Clover’s book stating that the final girl in most movies, is the survivor and is empowering to woman. They show the woman as the stronger character and able to outsmart the sociopath. You want to know why do people sit through these movies; watching people be tortured in the most grotesque ways. We peak out through our hand covered eyes to watch. Has society became so desensitized to blood and gore, We thrive to watch zombie movies and kill zombies on video games. The question remains what is next for society are we progressing in society or going backwards. His writing choice was about what is happening today in society and what seems to be interesting to the general public and who can write or create a more disturbing movie. In the end it’s all about the money.

      • Michelle Salazar November 15, 2012 at 10:45 pm

        I see what you’re saying about how Edelstein could be considered offensive when he talks about women cutting themselves, and neglects to mention men, but self cutting does tend to be more of an issue with women. I’m by no mean saying man don’t cut themselves, but they’re not as much associated with the act of cutting yourself. However, I think the fact that he put “they say” in parentheses could be considered offensive. It makes it seem like they could by lying, which would be offensive to them. I do think that we have become desensitized, though. The blood and guts and plain old zombies aren’t enough anymore, and so we have to take it up a notch. Also, I like how you connected this article to thinking about the future, and I’m not sure where the future is going, but if we keep getting desensitized, could we eventually have a cinema experience that we would consider atrocious today? Looking back, I doubt the makers of older horror movies saw this “torture porn” coming. However, we have become desensitized, these types of horror movies exist, and, for good or worse, a lot of people like them.

    • Janet Austin November 16, 2012 at 11:01 am

      Yeah Marissa I´m wondering that myself. Why focus on a women cutting themselves instead of just people in general? Also, by starting with a question, it seems a little immature. If he is writing this article to express his opinion then why is he asking for ours?

    • Rebecca Noce November 16, 2012 at 11:12 am

      Yes I actually agree with you here when I was annotating this piece I underlined that and asked why he only associates cutting with being a women, because that is a very serious issue and although it makes sense that people may watch torture porn to “feel something” it wasn’t right for him to use this analogy only referring to women “the same way that some women cut themselves”.

    • Danielle O'Brien November 16, 2012 at 3:31 pm

      Marissa I totally agree with you on this one. I found David Edelstein’s informal approach interesting but also disturbing. The initial rhetorical question, “seen any good surgery or unanesthetized people lately?” grabs the reader’s attention but when you read further into the piece the answer becomes very depressing.and almost frightening. I found myself just wanting to get to the end and be done with Edelstein’s article because he took a serious subject and tried to make it seem like a day at the beach. When he mentions “that some women cut themselves (they say) to feel something…” I felt revulsion at the thought of Edelstein’s nonchalant attitude toward this serious subject. I found his approach to the topic offensive.

    • Jessica Jackson November 18, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      I was thinking the same thing actually. When I read “In the same way some women cut themselves (they say) to feel something…” I thought wait why does he only say women? Some depressed men can cut themselves too, I thought that was very interesting. Also the language he uses is informal, and it caused me not to take it as seriously. The rhetorical question threw me off at first, but so did Kings argument when he said directly, “I think that we’re all mentally ill” It was a shock but it pulled me in. I feel if he used more of a formal language I would be confused and bored, but this is how we speak today and I think it puts Edelstein on our level and shows us what he thinks about this “torture porn” in a way that everyone can understand. Another thing I found interesting about his writing is all the little puns, he makes. It’s something you have to pay attention to and most of the time I missed them but I think it adds some humor into this piece and makes it a bit more interesting.

    • Liam Lonegan November 20, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      Many girls are reacting to Edelstein’s claim about female “self-injury” and I can understand where their reactions are rooted. However, cutting is an emotional reaction, usually in response to a traumatic event. Why yes, males are emotional as well, females usually experience cutting as a reaction to sexual or physical abuse, events that tend to occur to the female gender more than male. A study was done in Europe called CASE where the statistics came out to be that for males the risk of self-harm was to 1 in every 25 and for females: 1 in every 7. Even though the United States statistics may be different, I just wanted to clear by showing you that Edelstein is not being sexist or irrational. It’s like him saying about women having breast cancer, men can get it also, but much less frequently.

    • Ashley Monaco November 21, 2012 at 9:06 am

      Marissa, I agree by starting off the essay with this rhetorical question it defiantly caused an informal tone which was very interesting however I think his purpose of writing this question was to mock torture porn film watchers. I do not think Edelstein expected this rhetorical question to be appreciated however I think it was meant to be insulting. This whole essay Edelstein is delving into the possibilities of why we are so amused by torture porn. Edelstein continues this mocking tone throughout the essay because he is defiantly trying to get the reader to question their own motives for watching these movies.

  2. Kaitlin Donohue November 15, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    I agree with Will on the informal rhetorical question starting off the the writing. It caught my attention and almost made it easier to understand. Instead of saying something along the lines of “Have you seen any good surgery on unanesthetized people lately?” Edelstein just says “Seen any good surgery on unanesthetized people lately?” They both mean the same thing but eliminating Have you made me more interested.

    Also, I really liked how he said “It’s not a bad little thriller.” It made it seem like Edelstein was trying to act like it’s not a little kid movie. By suggesting that this movie isn’t for kids, it shows us that it is mature and has explicit content. It is serious and not everyone can handle it. This simple sentence really popped out to me.

  3. Andrés Jacobs November 16, 2012 at 8:15 am

    I like rhetorical questions and I was intending on talking about the first one, but it seems to be overkill so I guess I’ll go to the last. Edelstein ends the article by asking “Was it good for you too?” This last question literally asks if the reader enjoyed the horror films. What it really asks is if you see what Edelstein was saying. The entire article article Edelstein was talking about how grosesque horror films really are. In his article he sums up everything, the rape, the torture, the grotesque sights. He makes the reader realize just how terrible horror films, and the ideas at the core of horror films, truly are. He then asks his question and people truly realize what they’re watching. If people like it that’s fine, but they will forever realize how repulsize the ideas are.

    • William Eckner November 16, 2012 at 8:38 am

      I felt a little tricked by the last question in the article. Throughout the article, Edelstein speaks about horror with, as he says, “relish.” He presents the reader with the horror in a far different light and intensity than films do. I enjoyed the article, but Edelstein seems to be implying that, if you did, then you are “complicit” in regards to torture porn. I don’t think that his article and Edelstein’s informality regarding the subject are comparable to a real torture porn film. It’s a bit unfair for Edelstein to try and plant uncertainties in the reader’s mind about their enjoyment of torture porn, when he had presented the reader with the torture in a highly altered form.

      • Andrés Jacobs November 16, 2012 at 8:41 am

        I disagree there Will. I don’t think he’s trying to change any of the reader’s opinions. I think Edelstein just wants the readers to realize what they’re watching, and more importantly enjoying. If any of the things that happened in horror films happened in real life, that person is called sick and yet here people are enjoying the act. Edelstein never says that people shouldn’t enjoy horror films, but rather that people should know that they’re watching some terrible things. If he wanted people to not watch horror films he would have said so somehow.

        • McKenzie Callahan November 16, 2012 at 11:43 am

          Andres, you keep using the word “enjoying” to describe the way viewers of horror films are feeling while watching. However, so does King in his article, he says “And we go to have fun.” but I think you are both wrong. We don’t go because we enjoy horror films, we go because we are intrigued. I think that Edelstein is trying to tell his audience this. I don’t think he is trying to change our opinions on horror films. Edelstein opens with a description of “Hostel” and explains that the character doesn’t know why he’s in that place, and than Edelstein says “As for me, I didn’t understand why I was in that place either..” Edelstein goes on describing more movies and more grotesque scenes and ideas. Yes, maybe he is trying to make us realize what we are watching, but he also is making us question ourselves. Why do horror films intrigue us? Edelstein takes us through the blood and gore and tries to make clear to us what horror films really are. I agree with Andres that Edelstein does not try and change our opinion on them.

          • Andrés Jacobs November 18, 2012 at 11:27 pm

            You see I disagree there, I’m pretty sure that Edelstein was saying people enjoy horror films. As for the curious part there’s really not too much different between films when you look at the core of the plot. Happy start, people partying, ect. One person dies to start (a black guy very often it seems). There’s a panic killer starts taking more victims. Eventually only a few are left when he’s finally beat (or not really if there’s a sequel planned) and people walk away traumatized. Or there’s also the supernatural variant but I won’t go into that as I plan on falling asleep tonight. I think people do enjoy them, the rush of seeing other people’s lives in danger. We have for thousands of years, it’s just more frowned upon today. For tens of thousands of years you had events like the Roman Coliseum and the Nomadic hordes slaying people across the countryside. Makes sense that this should continue somehow. I do believe people go see the movie as it’s entertaining and they enjoy it, not because they’re intrigued. I’m intrigued about jumping off a cliff, but I don’t do it.

          • Jessica Jackson November 20, 2012 at 12:05 pm

            I agree with you McKenzie, we go to these movies because there’s a sense of mystery to it and that pulls us in; that doesn’t always mean we enjoy the movies, and that’s where Edelstein ang King are coming from. Edelstein called himself a horror maven, if anything King is more of a horror maven, in my opinion. He has produced, directed, and wrote all these books and he’s well know in that district. I agree with you that in their arguments they’re trying to get us to think about what we go to see and if in fact it does bring us enjoyment. I agree with what you said, Will, that at the end you felt like you have been tricked by the last question, but then doesn’t that mean that his article worked? These arguments are to persuade us into thinking about the movies that we go to see and Edelstein achieved that with his last rhetorical question.

        • Danielle O'Brien November 16, 2012 at 3:42 pm

          I agree with Andres on this one. I do not think that Edlestein is trying to change the reader’s opinion in any way. I believe the real purpose here is to bring the reader’s attention to the fact that horror films have gotten more and more graphic and that the movie-goer is partly to blame for the increase in guts, gore and plain torture. Edlestein is letting the reader know that not only are movie-goers looking for more violence and gore they are also enjoying it more.

      • Nick Santamaria November 18, 2012 at 8:45 pm

        I actually disagree with Will on this one. I feel as though the rhetorical question which Edelstein poses perfectly emulates the relationship of people to ‘torture porn’ and the satisfaction they may get from it. Yes the degree to which Edelstien provides us with torture is of a less intense nature than what some of the films he has mentioned but the “highly altered form” part I feel is untrue. In Edelstien’s piece he uses explicit details that often paint such a gory pictures and offensive phrasing as to illicit responses ranging from “off-putting” to “revultion” just from our peers alone. One such sentence states “She’s left hanging in the doorway wearing her lover’s detached face; she ends up running into the road, where a semi turns her into multiple heaps of gleaming innards.” These descriptions mimic the affect of “torture porn” in a movie, however movies have the advantage of utilizing picture and sound instead of written words on a page. People who read this still get the same satisfaction as the way those who would watch the movie, except the ‘picture’ to be painted, in the case of this peice, is left up to the imagination of the reader. In some cases this can be even more terrifying than those ideas of a director because the can be tweeked by the reader in order to provide even more personalized satisfaction that is supposadly derived from such scenes of blood and gore. I feel as though Edelstien asking the audience “Was it good for you too?” is a just question, we were presumably reading the piece in order to analyze the affects and role of “torture porn” however, to do this we had to be provided with examples, and that little twinge of intruige, or that image “burned into your memory,” obviously had some impact on our minds and I believe in our human nature, as sick as it may be; this satisfied us. We obviously had some impulse to keep reading about a pregnant women being anally raped. . .nothing forced you to read that, and we could have stopped at any time, but we all continued to read, even though every previous point in the book suggested things would become even more graphic, and vivid and descriptively horrifying, or any one of us could have refused on the basis of inappropriateness. But we didn’t. Reading a description of a rape, or a murder, shouldn’t be satisfying, however we continued to read the piece through. Mr. Eure wasn’t even there to enforce reading the piece, we all completed it on our own will. Any sane person would immediately stop, however all these signs point to the fact that we, as humans got satisfied, or intrigued, by reading the literary version of “torture porn.” Whats worse still is that Edelstein described himself looking away from the movie screen as certain scenes occured, that is how he made it through the movie, we had no such vice, yet upon our own free will kept reading. For these reasons I believe Edelstein’s question, “Was it good for you too?” is perfectly suited, because the answer is yes, it was or else you wouldn’t have made it to the end to read the question. From this I think we can all say that from torture porn, in some deep hole of our human instincts and nature, or some other realm of the human psyche, we are satisfied, and although consciously we may not be aware of it, that satisfaction IS there, and its proven through each and every one of us completeing this piece.

  4. Janet Austin November 16, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Within this article, David Edelstein uses many rhetorical appeals to prove the purpose of his article. The main purpose of this article is to basically condemn horror movies. At the end of the first paragraph, he uses asyndeton. He states,”The poor sap screams, pleads, weeps.¨ By not including the conjunctions in this sentence, the words are listed. The listing allows the audience to see that there is an endless amount of words to be used since the conjunctions aren´t there to put an end to it. Therefore, we know that Edelstein feels that horror movies have an endless amount of words to describe it.

    • Olivia Headen November 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm

      I like how you mentioned the asyndaton, I also found that without the conjunctions it leads the audience to believe he did more than scream, plead, and weep. The list goes on and on because there is nothing stopping the list. I agree that the list of words to describe horror movies is limitless. I am not a fan of horror movies and I know that there are many words that come to mind when I think of horror movies and none of then are positive. Bringing it back to King’s alligators of the mind where he compares horror movies to roller coasters, I relate the coasters to horror movies in the way that I cannot stand them.

      Also in Edelstein’s article in paragraph two where he says “watching through my fingers” I feel like that relates him to the parts of his audience who do not enjoy horror movies. he identifies himself as one who watches horror movies but may not enjoy the extremely gory parts. Therefore he relates himself to the people who do like horror movies.

      • Amanda Rizzotti November 19, 2012 at 2:13 pm

        I completely agree with you Olivia. Edelstein wrote to portray himself as an equal to his audience. I believe his writing, such as, “watching through my fingers”, was intentional. I think he did this with the hope that others could agree with him, and therefore would be able to see the points he was trying to make. It made him seem less, intimidating, almost. Instead of trying to shove information at you and force to see it as true, he tries, instead, to ease you into the process. He never comes right out and says his main purpose, but instead guides you to it. This makes you feel like you have come to his conclusion on your own, and allows you to accept it easier.

      • Ashley Monaco November 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm

        I agree, the asyndeton allows the reader to fully grasp the horrors they are watching. I think by listing them without any use of conjunctions it makes the list seem never ending. I think its kind of symbolic of the torture that is happening since this torutre is almost never ending in the movies theoretically.
        I think the “watching through my fingers” part is a great use of pathos. It allows himself to seem relatable instead of just spitting out facts, and evidence from torture porn films. I am not too sure with which audience this relates to, like you said Olivia, it would make sense for him to relate to the audience which does not like horror movies however I think it is more towards the audience in general because prior he explains the type of film it was so he is questioning what the fascination of watching people being tortured is. Especially if he is spending the majority of the movie watching through his fingers.

        • Olivia Headen November 20, 2012 at 11:40 am

          Ashley I feel as if the watching through my fingers part is related directly to his non horror watching audience because the rest of the essay is related to the audience that does watch and enjoy horror films, which are also the people who would never watch through their fingers. Therefore his use of this image allows everyone be be open to his opinions no matter if they actually enjoy horror movies or not.

          • Ashley Monaco November 20, 2012 at 12:03 pm

            Olivia, I am just wondering why he would be speaking to that audience? His essay is talking to torture porn watchers, that is his audience, to determine why everyone is so intrigued to watch it. As you read on in this paragraph he goes into detail about various other torture porn films he has watched therefore he cannot be relatable to non-horror movie watchers since they have never watched these movies.

            • Olivia Headen November 21, 2012 at 11:52 am

              Ashley I feel as if his audience is being expanded by that one sentence because I know that I related to it. I safely assume that others who do not enjoy horror movies also related to him “hiding behind his fingers.” You can read and understand this essay without seeing any of the mentioned horror movies because he gives enough information so that non horror movie watchers are able to understand and side with him. Therefore he expands his audience to anyone who would choose to read his article.

  5. Andrew Genussa November 16, 2012 at 11:00 am

    I found it interesting how both King and Edelstein both had informal voices. However they were utilized in totally different ways. King used the word “we” often, as if we were actually having a conversation and that we were equals. Edelstein uses the words “you” or “I” often. By using “you” and “I” he doesn’t create a sense of unity between him and his readers. King clearly had a purpose to analyze the human psyche, while Edelstein’s purpose is rather unclear. It is almost as if Edelstein is just talking. I think rhetorically Edelstein wasn’t able to connect to as many readers as King not because of his informal voice, but rather the separation between us and him. I do however think that his forward style of addressing his points and the vivid details he included kept readers interested in what he had to say.

    • Kate Andres November 19, 2012 at 11:41 am

      I think that another reason why King uses “we” is to keep us interested in what he is saying. When he talks about how “we” like roller coasters I knew that he was incorporating many people into his scenario; even thought I hate roller coasters and horror movies. Also, Edelstein didn’t hold my attention what so ever. I thought his writing was one sided and that he didn’t care about our thoughts. he just wanted us to understand and agree wit him.This is probably another reasons why he used “You” and “I” but not “we”.

      • Olivia Headen November 20, 2012 at 11:50 am

        I agree that Edelsteins use of “you” and “I” create a space between the audience and himself. I am not sure if this was intentional or not. I, like you Kate, do not see the appeal of roller coasters or horror movies. But I still found both articles interesting because they both discussed horror movies and how they are related to culture in a way I never thought of. Edelstein discusses how horror movies have gotten worse over the years, about how they are no longer tasteful. They have turned into films with no point of view according to The American Vice. Since I do not watch horror movies I have not been able to witness this downhill travel but I believe that it is because people are being desensitized.

  6. Danny DePaoli November 16, 2012 at 11:08 am

    I found Edelstein’s purpose to be an attempt to condemn horror movies in the eyes and minds of the reader. He uses his own personal stories, as well as multiple rhetorical devices to achieve this purpose. Throughout the passage, as many of you have already stated, he uses quite an informal tone. I found the opening question to be quite amusing, as he contrasts a seemingly mundane tone, with a bizarre, unorthodox question. The asyndeton at the end of the first paragraph is interesting, because without the use of conjunctions, the sentence is read faster. This quick reading is then also impacted by the fact that all of the words being read are verbs that end in the letter “s.” The repetition and overuse of verbs that are presented in this manner emphasizes all of the things that the man being tortured is doing. He is pleading in every way possible, and yet the torturer is not letting up at all. The way in which these verbs are presented comes off as casual, and it seems that the author feels no emotional ties to the situation. The fact that he feels no emotional ties to an intense situation shows his distaste to the genre and movie, and exemplifies that even in a very powerful situation, there is still nothing that is visually aesthetic to this author. However, despite these instances of rhetorical devices that support the purpose, I found the most powerful comments in the passage to come from quotes that expressed pathos. When Edelstein references the bit about the actor who has a breakdown over the horrific acts that he must undertake, he plays on the reader’s sense of pathos, because he illuminates how truly wrong the depictions of horror movies tend to be. If an actor cannot even perform the fake scene without freaking out, then how should a person feel about watching it and seeing it as pleasing. They feel ashamed. Also, Edelstein references how when watching a horror movie, we lose sight of who we are seeing the movie through. People lose sight of the fact that they may be seeing the grotesque scene through the eyes of the torturer; a terrible, inhumane, human being. This can even be dangerous for society, because these terrible things that are seen become banal for those watching it. All of these things contribute to Edelstein’s purpose to condemn horror movies.

    • Briana Beach November 19, 2012 at 10:39 am

      I agree with you, Danny, when you say that Edelstein uses quite an informal tone. He writes to us as if he is having a conversation with us, asking questions and informing us slightly. Rhetorical questions such as “Are there moral uses for this sort of violence?” and “Seen any good surgery on unanesthetized people lately?” The questions essentially have complicated answers and cause you to think deeply in to the subject, however they come off conversational.

    • Colin Cavanagh November 20, 2012 at 12:07 pm

      I don’t think that Edelstein was attempting to condemn all horror movies, but instead only the “torture porn” sub-genre of these films. In the second paragraph, Edelstein describes himself as a “horror maven,” and he later talks about how old horror movies condemned promiscuity and empowered females. However, he condemns some of the new horror films for being torture for torture’s sake, thus he is only trying to condemn the newer horror films, while at the same time contrasting them with the old horror films.

  7. Andrew Genussa November 16, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Edelstein spent a lot of time on ethics in this piece. He makes daring appeals to ethos, like his parenthetical ,”(dare I blaspheme?)”, when talking about The Passion of Christ. He also brings up the ethical responsibility and morality behind horror movies and “torture porn”. He uses two socially charged words, “sadism” and “masochism”, and their forms, throughout the essay. This brings up an ethical question: “Are these socially acceptable?” Most would say, “No.”

    • Mishell Pacheco November 19, 2012 at 11:54 am

      I agree, Edelstein made sure to keep his argument simple yet, added many other little arguments. You added how he was targeting ethics in his work which i noticed a lot of as well. He uses many of the terms such as “sadism” and “masochism” that in today’s society are highly controversial. some could say his article is controversial while others could say it was very informative. I side on the informative argument. as i was reading i noticed how i could relate as well as understand his own POV. speaking about POV, he mentions, “We lose sight whose exact POV we are inhabiting. The sadist who is doing the torturing? The policeman? The incapacitated accomplice?”, I found this interesting because I looked back at recent horror movies I’ve watched, I noticed that no direct POV was primarily found. In essence, I believed that Edelstein had a familiarization with Stephen King because they’re argument taught how we torture ourselves once we dare the nightmare.

  8. Abigail Verille November 18, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Just by reading most of the replies, I could make the assumption that you (as in some who may have commented above) did not appreciate David Edelstein’s article due to his use of “inappropriate examples” that may have offended you, as a reader throughout your reading. I for one actually enjoyed this article due to its use of gruesome detail that most of the up to date thrillers contain. Let’s face the truth, all of us have at least seen a scary movie, or part of one once in our lives. You could have been hiding behind a pillow, your friend, or whomever was there to block your vision for that everlasting hour of mental torture. Some of us may enjoy the horror that lies on what seems like every movie screen. Some may find watching others slaughter each other entertaining. Why? Well I truly have no idea. I’m sure others may share my opinion. But back to the point. David’s use of gruesome examples like “…a nine minute anal rape (of a pregnant women),” were meant to disgust the reader and make them think about why America watches such horrifying films that include of such violence and immoral actions. Isn’t violence and/or torture not accepted in our society? What makes it right for a movie to display such images if theses actions are against the laws. Edelstein tries to get that point across (or his point I should say) by fueling the reader’s disgust with ethics (mentioned in Andrew’s reply above). Some may have not appreciated the darkness behind Edelstein’s writing because it’s the truth. We seem to look away from the truth in fear that problems will only occur if we try to “fix” any situation. The use of these dark examples were to bring his point and/or argument across. I believe Edelstein was successful in doing so. I’m not sure if many others would seem to agree.

    • Jessica Lau November 19, 2012 at 7:05 pm

      I also liked Edelstein’s argument against torture porn, but from my point of view, I think that Edelstein is not only really grossed out and disturbed by the graphic violence in torture porn, he feels rather disgusted at the movie itself because horror movies, unlike torture porn, have a theme or insight the audience can relate to encrypted within it. Edelstein did mention he was a fan of horror movies, but it seems to me that Edelstein is kind of befuddled as to how Americans are able to enjoy a movie without a real insight as to exactly why the serial killer is doing what he does nor how the victim got into his/her gory predicament. Edelstein also mentions that no one really wants to relate to the serial killer or any of the pathetic, crying victims. Usually, people enjoy movies with likeable, developed characters they can possibly relate to and an interesting plot, but torture porn, on the other hand, is only allows the audience to sit back and watch people die horribly gory deaths. With that said, once people start watching or even enjoying torture porn, human morality and empathy/sympathy are thrown away. Gone. And why does a movie directer want to make people do this when they watch this movie genre? That is a question I, nor Edelstein, can answer at all.

      • Abigail Verille November 20, 2012 at 11:59 am

        Jessica, do you think Edelstein watches torture porn for the sake of watching it then? Not because he enjoys it but rather to see the newest trends in this movie genre? I do think he enjoyed the gruesome examples, that he so kindly provided for us, in order to prove his point. It seemed as if his focus for his piece was to support King’s statement as to we’re all “mentally ill.”

        To relate to what Nick said earlier, I do believe we finished reading the article because we wanted to. Even though Mr. Eure gave it to us, we didn’t have to read the entire thing. But we did anyway. The gruesome examples and Edelstein’s opinion seemed to hook us into his piece, whether we wanted it to or not.

        • Jessica Lau November 20, 2012 at 2:12 pm

          Well, I don’t think Edelstein enjoyed watching torture porn at all nor did he want to watch torture porn for the sake of watching torture porn. I do think he did watch torture porn in the first place just to experiment with trends, but I don’t think he found torture porn to be likeable to his taste. However, he just gave out gruesome examples to gross out whoever reads his article and look at torture porn in disgust as much as he does.

          • Kristen Safford November 21, 2012 at 11:58 am

            Jessica, I don’t think many people actually find the torture porn enjoyable. I think that that is part of Edelstein’s point in writing his article, the same reason why we wanted to finish the article, and the same reason why some people watch these movies is the curiosity of what’s actually there.

  9. Giselle Gutierrez November 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Within this article, David Edelstein used rhetorical appeals to help make the reader ethically question what is socially accepted. (As both Abigail and Andrew pointed out.)
    I found paragraph number 9 to be the most established.

    “Fear supplants empathy and makes us all potential torturers, doesn’t it? …Who do you want defending America? Kiefer Sutherland or terrorist-employed civil-liberties lawyers?”

    In this paragraph, Edelstein makes a valuable point, when saying, “Post-9/11, we’ve engaged in a national debate about the morality of torture, fueled by horrifying pictures of manifestly decent men and women (some of them, anyway) enacting brutal scenarios of domination at Abu Ghraib.” There is no doubt that since the tragic occurrence on September 11, 2001, when airplanes where flown into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center by terrorists killing over 3,000 people, the United States changed. The people’s tolerance for using questionable methods to interrogate has escalated: overall, xenophobia has risen. As a result, we have learned to accept government interference such as “Homeland Security,” “The Patriot Act,” “FISA,” Etc. The news is now dominated by stories begotten by war and incidents that violate and demand tortuous practices of our human rights. Edelstein’s suggests that this media coverage helps nourish the escalation of unrestrained images of torture because humiliating and disfigurement in film is reverberated in most reviews and commentaries. Edelstein ethically questions, how can we link our exposure to images of torture, such as the images of the victims of Abu Ghraib, and the escalation of explicit representations in the horror genre? Agreeing with Abigail, Edelstein uses images of true torture, such as Abu Ghraib in this case, to help bring his argument across.

    • Kristen Safford November 20, 2012 at 11:54 am

      I agree that ever since 9/11 the united states has changed, especially for our generation and the ones following us. Since a young age, we are exposed to pictures and videos of cruel and horrifying scenes. Growing up with this causes us to be desensitized to the torture. So as time goes on we are no longer as affected by the same scenario as we used to be, thus the intensity of “torture porn” is escalating. This is also evident in the plots of horror movies. They seem to be becoming more vulgar. Most likely, this isn’t because the writers have run out of ideas, it is because in our society the idea of what is socially acceptable has changed. And as horror writers it is their job to push at the barrier of what is right and what is just plain insane.

  10. Colin Cavanagh November 18, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    I think that Edelstein’s point in writing this article was to convince his readers that the new type of “torture porn” which is being released is not art. Near the beginning of the article, Edelstein describes himself as a “horror maven,” which to me signifies that Edelstein did, at least at some point, enjoy horror movies. However, Edelstein seems to think that the recent change in these movies has pushed them to a more personal level, as he recalls that the victims in old horror movies were seemingly interchangeable promiscuous teens, while the victims in the new films are more well-developed characters that resonate emotionally with the audience, thus making their inevitable deaths much harder to watch. Edelstein then recounts how during the filming of Rob Zombie’s film The Devil’s Rejects the actor playing the main villain became traumatized by his actions, prompting Zombie to say “Art is not safe.” However, Edelstein then makes the point of saying that Zombie’s film, in which the psychos are “inexplicably deranged,” is not art by any definition. I think Edelstein’s point in bringing up this particular film was to define to us what “art” is; art teaches us a lesson, whereas the new “torture porn” does not. Having deranged maniacs murder everybody for no apparent reason at all does not teach us a lesson. It does not “empower” us, as Carol Clover said about old horror movies where the final victim would outsmart the murderer. But, as Edelstein points out, in many horror movies being released in the present, the final victims die horrible deaths at the end, while the killer gets away. Thus, Edelstein makes the distinction that the old horror films at least had the redeemable quality of teaching us a life lesson, perhaps about insanity, or of empowering us through the desperate acts of the “final girl,” as Clover puts it, however the new films are simply gore for the sake of gore, which teaches us nothing and leaves us with a very nihilistic view of the world.

    • Jessica Lau November 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm

      You bring up a very good point about how torture porn is just graphic violence done by a serial killer being filmed is put in theaters just for the sake of throwing guts, blood, and whatever other sickening actions in front of people’s faces. Torture porn, in my opinion, is very pointless since it doesn’t have a real plot, story, or insight the viewer can relate to, like how you mentioned why Edelstein is a horror movie fan. Horror movies and torture porn are definitely not the same, since horror movies are relatable to the audience, in terms of insights to insanity and whatnot that are present in horror movies. Torture porn to me really lacks any logical insights because after someone watches torture porn, he may ask himself “How is that even possible to happen to anyone?” “Why would that happen?” or “I didn’t really care for any of the characters, but did I really enjoy the movie?”

    • Nick Santamaria November 20, 2012 at 11:59 am

      I agree completely on the major differences between the horror movies of the past and today. In the past, horror movies follow a template where you (as Colin stated) would interchange promiscuous teens, most everyone dying, and the final victim triumphing over the killer. These themes have become so cliche that they have been consistently mimicked in films like “Scary Movie” and even in the more mainstream “Scream” franchise. However today these films have become less predictable, the old ‘rules’ of horror movies are broken and therefore the audiences expectations are never met because when they suspect the final victim to kill the murderer the victim suddenly dies in some horrific manner. I think this difference is what is so shocking to many of the viewers. We are used to some degree of gore and violence, but when everything we even expected of horror movies doesn’t happen we are thrown off, and initially shocked and disgusted, which I believe is what accounts for our distaste for this new genre of “torture porn.”

  11. Amanda Rizzotti November 18, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    As many of you have already noted, Edelstein’s piece was extremely informal. I genuinely disliked this piece. The opening question, in my opinion, was not intriguing, and frankly, came across as juvenile. While it seems to be creative and different, it could cause people to lose interest in the piece. As soon as I read this, I instantly thought to myself, “No, I have not seen any good surgery lately.” Because of this, why even bother to continue reading? If it had not been assigned, I probably would have put it down right then and there. I was immediately turned off and had a distasteful opinion on his article. Similarly to Marissa and several others, I also felt uncomfortable and unsure of why he focused on only the female gender when he stated, “In the same way that some women cut themselves…” I felt that it was an extremely biased and untrue statement, as many men cut themselves too. It immediately made me have less respect and less faith in the accuracy of his article. I also disagree with the comparison between cutting yourself to feel something, and going to horror movies to feel something. In my limited knowledge of horror movies, I can honestly say that I do not go to a horror movie to “feel” something. I believe that many go simply because they’re scary. Furthermore, Edelstein’s writing came across as choppy and unorganized. Towards the end of the piece, I found it difficult to come up with a definite purpose because he seemed to have so many ideas all packed into a few quick paragraphs.

    • Georgia West November 19, 2012 at 11:56 am

      I agree with you Amanda about the women cutting themselves part. Why single out one gender when he includes no statistics to back it up? For all he knows, the rate of men cutting themselves could easily be as high, if not higher, than that of women. However, I tend to disagree with your opinion (and many others’) when you say “The opening question, in my opinion, was not intriguing, and frankly, came across as juvenile.” Although it is quite informal, he opens this argument in a way that can relate with others’ sense of humor. He tries to relate the opening sentence to the cliched question, “Seen any good movies lately?” In my opinion, this was a clever way to capture attention, and it did set an informal tone for the whole argument, I think it was intentional, and not without purpose.

      • Lindsey Ragan November 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm

        I agree with you, Georgia, in your reasoning in disagreeing with the Amanda’s statement about the opening sentence, or opening question. Although technically the statement is grammatically declared a question due to its punctuation and inclusion of a question mark, it serves more than simply asking for a yes or no response. I don’t think the statement should be considered a question, rather a casual and relatable pick up line maybe. I saw this opening question as the equivalent to a “How was your day?” “Do anything fun this weekend?” or maybe even “Gone hiking recently?” These statements/questions commonly occur in our society and do not serve as strictly yes or no questions, but questions to initiate conversations, instead. A “no” response to one of these questions rarely will completely shut down a conversation, similar to how a “no” response to Edelstein’s “Seen any good surgery or unanesthetized people lately?” should completely shut down a reader’s interest in his piece. I believe that this questions simply opens up the piece in an informal and spontaneous manner.

        • Amanda Rizzotti November 20, 2012 at 9:07 am

          Yes, Lindsey, while I definitely agree with several of the points you have made, I also still do not see eye to eye with a few of them. I do agree that Edelstein was trying to begin the piece with casual conversation. However, I do not agree that he did it well. The sponatneous and informal tone caused me to feel as if the article was not real. The opening line felt like I was reading something from a middle schooler, rather than a well established writer. As you and Georgia both stated, I believe he opened his argument with this statement intentionally, in the hopes to catch someones attention. And, while there is no doubt that this caused many readers to become intrigued, I am sure that many others, similar to myself, had no interest in continuing to read. I believe his informal tone throughout the rest of the article was appropriate, because he portrayed himself as relateable and approachable. However, beginning the argument with this question, whether he expected it to be answered or not, did not make me intrigued or even relatively interested. Avery, your last line, “Don’t be so quick to judge us all Mr. King and Mr. Edelstein, but maybe it’s just you two that have been trapped within this mindset,” is extremely well thought out and accurate. King and Edelstein generalized all of human kind as people who thrive off of horror movies and need them to “feel”. This is extremely inaccurate and untrue. Not everyone enjoys horror movies, and to generalize the human race is simply unfair. It makes me lose faith in the articles and dislike it even further. I completely agree with all of the statements you made, Avery.

          • Georgia West November 20, 2012 at 9:15 am

            Amanda, I agree with your view of Avery’s addition to the conversation. King and Edelstein seem to be in a world unlike anything we can relate with. Although I agree with almost all the statements you made, I maintain my complete disagreement with your view of the casual tone. The conversational style of this piece made me want to keep reading, as though I was being engrossed in conversation and not just listening to a dry lecture. His mention of different movies that I have seen really make it easy to relate with, and I’m not sure why they caused you disinterest. By being entertained by his speech, I was able to maintain interest, unlike most articles I read that make me want to stop reading immediately. He captured my attention, and he never made an attempt to let it go.

        • Avery Pan November 20, 2012 at 9:12 am

          Lindsey, of course, you’re right in that beginning a passage with a question can easily stir conversation and lead to further discussion. But however intriguing and thought-provoking Edelstein’s starting question is, the bottom line is that it’s weird… in a creepy, disturbing sort of way that leaves a bad taste in the average reader’s mind. Because writing style and tone is clearly associated with the writer himself, it’s likely that the audience will immediately feel negatively towards Edelstein and therefore judge this piece of literature with the pre-determined opinion that his entire mantra is invalid. It’s in this way that this specific rhetorical question of Edelstein’s weakens his argument and the following proposals about why some enjoy this type of entertainment.

          • Danny DePaoli November 20, 2012 at 10:40 am

            The piece is especially informal in the first question, which asks a seemingly everyday question, but involves a bizarre premise. By placing the premise of seeing torture in an everyday question, the author implies that seeing torture has become an everyday happening.

            • Georgia West November 20, 2012 at 11:46 am

              I agree with you Danny, and I think that the implication of everyday torture was a major aspect of Edelstein’s argument. In this piece, it is mentioned that even he subjects himself to watching slasher movies through his fingers. He criticizes the motives behind people going to the movie theater to sit through 2 hours of torture porn, meanwhile he himself feels drawn to it. Violence and masochism is becoming an everyday standard, and Edelstein definitely calls upon that fact when he admits to trudging to the cinema to enter himself into a sadistic world.

    • Avery Pan November 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm

      Amanda, you pose an extremely accurate and insightful point of view on the entire article. After trudging through the last few paragraphs of the paper, I too, was confused as to what Edelstein was trying to get at. The skewed and distorted approach as to how the purpose was presented made it become unidentifiable. Sure, this was an interesting, and well-written and sophisticated piece of literature, but what is the point? The last line, “Was it good for you, too?” is not only disturbing but comes off as somewhat creepy. Both this article and Stephen King’s “Why We Crave Horror Movies” draw my attention back to a certain proposal King makes, that “inside we are all a little mentally ill.” Don’t be so quick to judge us all Mr. King and Mr. Edelstein, but maybe it’s just you two that have been trapped within this mindset.

  12. Jessica Lau November 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Edelstien seems to believe that torture porn is tasteless and rather pointless, and seems to always ponder about the reason why it is so popular in American popular culture. His first paragraph especially sets up his argument in his whole article by referencing the movie, Hostel, which somehow gained a lot of money, meaning that is was popular at the time, a mystery Edelstein ponders in his argument. In the final sentence of the paragraph, he says that a eviscerated male victim in Hostel, “screams, pleads, weeps: He doesn’t understand why he’s in that place”. This is describing the victim in the movie basically being ridiculously pathetic and helpless when he really didn’t need to be, and that it was really strange that he basically “just so happened” to be in his gruesome and gory predicament, somehow. Edelstein begins the second paragraph by stating his regret for watching the movie in the first place and squeamishness he felt while watching the movie: “As for me, I didn’t understand why I was in that place either-watching through my fingers” directly following the last sentence in the first paragraph. Both of these sentences together asserts Edelstein’s point that torture porn doesn’t really have any logical or good plot with really pathetic and one-dimensional characters, which are the victim and the mad serial killer, and makes many people feel sick to the stomach, yet they cannot turn their eyes away from this nauseating, graphic violence in front of their eyes, like ho Edelstien was watching the movie ready to close his eyes, but didn’t.

  13. Marissa Milazzo November 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    By ending this piece with the rhetorical question of “Was it good for you, too?”, King makes one focus on the overall purpose of this essay. As the reader, I finished reading the rhetorical question and began to think to myself. When a writer does this, it makes the reader feel involved in the piece. This technique forces one to reflect on what they just read with their own personal opinion and past experiences.

    • Conor Mitts November 20, 2012 at 11:47 am

      i agree with you. That question at the end is a fantastic closing because in that short little question he makes the whole article flash through your mind like you said. The effect that that one question has is huge it makes you revisit each powerful device and creative effects the author used, and it occurs to you which ones hit home the hardest. And you actually ask your self, did i enjoy that. I think for most of us it was yes because of powerful devices like that question

    • Briana Merritt November 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm

      I find your reasoning quite interesting Marissa and i would certainly agree that I almost felt compelled to think and answer the question Edelstein posed. I liked how he ended his piece with this specific rhetorical device, which the left question open-ended, rather than overusing hypophora. By opening and closing his piece with a question, I feel like Edelstein hoped to draw the reader in, in such a way that was dramatic enough to grab their attention, but also to leave them wondering and hoping for more answers. Edelstein effectively used this technique and as a reader I found myself definitely persuaded by him.

  14. Briana Beach November 20, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Edelstein makes a point in this article to express that he is confused to why people find enjoyment from torture porn. A few times he mentions that during horror films, viewers will feel repulsed, scared or have had enough, however they stay to watch the whole movie and feel an even slight feeling of enjoyment. In paragraph 11, Edelstein is talking about the movie Irreversible referring to the scene, “which delivers a nine-minute anal rape (of a pregnant woman). Basically what Edelstein says when reflecting on his experience is that enough is enough. Scenes like these, he does not want to visualize or see, let alone experience. It gives us a fear for the disturbing minds of some people. Instead of leaving however, which he contemplates, Edelstein chooses to close his eyes, plug his ears and chant an old mantra. He says, “I didn’t understand why I had to be tortured, too. I didn’t want to identify with the victim or the victimizer.” The world “identify” has an interesting diction. This, I found could also mean get to know or to recognize. Edelstein does not want to see this scene, let alone imagine it being real life. He does not want to feel for the pregnant woman or the rapist. Also, he does not want to be scared about it, about society’s bad thoughts or the pyschotic minds that haunt him and other viewers.

    • Natalie Jara November 27, 2012 at 12:08 am

      Briana, I agree that Edelstien was confused by why so many people enjoy torture porn films and wrote this article to basically find an explanation. He notices the emotions the public feels when seeing these types of movies and compares them to find a reason because when he sees these movies he knows his limits. The scene your talking about is a great example on just how much movie makers push the limits on what they put in their movies. In his article he mentions a time when he watches a film with his hands over his face and looking through his fingers. I also liked how you pointed out his use of diction with the word “identify” because it further persuades the reader to see the point he’s making. His use of the word torture is significant too because he’s describing how he is now being tortured and it’s because of the film. Torture connotes suffering and pain to an extreme and the fact that he uses that word to describe what he’s going through explains his point of view even more. It also shows just how much he doesn’t want to be scared since he feels like he’s being torture when he sees these movies.

  15. Ashley Monaco November 20, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I think Edelstein’s overall purpose for writing this essay was to go more in depth as to why our society is so mesmerized from torture porn. He consistently utilizes rhetorical questions to keep us open minded, come up with different possibilities as to why we watch torture porn. I think the rhetorical questions are also a way for him to think out loud, he is unsure so he is constantly quizzing us. In some of the rhetorical questions, the answer may seem obvious but based on his evidence the answer may seem otherwise; for example in the question, “Who do you want defending America? Kiefer Sutherland or terrorist-employed civil-liberties lawyers?” In order to justify Edelstein’s reasoning for why we are such avid torture porn movie watchers I think his combination of ethos, pathos, anecdotes, and quotes from people such as Will Self help strengthen his argument because it causes the essay to seem more reliable. Edelstein’s use of pathos defiantly made the essay relatable.

    • Brian Donnelly November 20, 2012 at 12:00 pm

      I feel the same way, if he left out these small details and didn’t make the article not completely based around being tortured then people wouldn’t want to read it, he brings you away from the actual torturing to why we like the torturing in an easy manor that makes a imaginary light bulb go on in your head to truly understand what he’s saying.

      • Marissa Milazzo November 20, 2012 at 1:58 pm

        Brian, I agree with what you are saying on the reasoning in adding such details, however, I know for me, some of the details and examples of scenes from tortured porn were a little too much because a lot of the movies I never heard of. Therefore, I didn’t really know what Edelstein was talking about until I looked it up. That’s how I felt, did you feel that way at all?

    • Avery Pan November 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      I completely disagree with your claim that the essay was relatable. In fact, I found the amount of differences in point of view between my own mindset and Edelstein’s theories about people who enjoy torture porn remarkable. It was extremely difficult for me to understand Edelstein’s purpose because I don’t believe that society as a whole is so “mesmerized” by torture porn. I know for a fact that I’m never the first to buy a ticket or grab a front row seat to the newest and most popular horror film, I dread the idea of going into a haunted house, and I definitely did not relish reading Edelstein’s descriptive summaries of the famous films he mentioned. His rhetorical questions were interesting, but only made me feel rather uncomfortable about his overall personal being and somewhat cynical take on society.

      • Ashley Monaco November 21, 2012 at 9:34 am

        Avery,, what I meant by relatable was how he questions why he is watching torture porn films when he is spending it watching through his fingers? Or why he is watching people who are decent, or Jesus being tortured. I am defiantly not a torture porn watcher or even a horror film watcher, however I think his vivid details makes us question the part of society which is amused by torture porn films. Torture porn film watchers were the main audience of this essay obviously he would not be directing this essay to people who have never even watched a scene from one so I think it was considered relatable in that aspect to the people who are avid torture porn film watchers.

    • Liam Lonegan November 20, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      The details, details, details! You’re absolutely right on that one, Ashley. Actually, looking below at Brian’s comment, his opinion ties in. What made Edelstein’s article pleasing to read was his significant and descriptive images that were planted in our minds during our read. In this way, Edelstein’s work is similar to Stephen King, who used the descriptive images of dead babies and “public lynching” football games. By including these details, King and Edelstein force the reader in, and force them to pay attention.

      I’m almost sure that the class noticed that Edelstein grew a mocking tone during his article, where he makes the reader giggle a bit inside at the insane anecdotes. Toward the last line of the first page, Edelstein states, “…crazed mass murders take a group of touring musicians hostage before slaughtering them all.” Like that image isn’t bad enough, he continues: “Well, one of the women isn’t exactly slaughtered…” This is where some readers may relax at the potentially happy news (that the girl was not slaughtered), but the reader continues to be entertained: “She’s left hanging in the doorway wearing her lover’s detached face,” like that image is any happier than the previous slaughter. And the girl (of course) never makes it out alive, but gets bullets pumped into her until she literally falls apart. Even though the images are disturbing and sad, Edelstein constructs the sentences to set up a specific reaction that will come from the reader, an entertained one that will cause them to continue reading.

      • Ashley Monaco November 21, 2012 at 8:56 am

        I agree, I had that part of the essay starred off because I found it very interesting how he does this. When Edelstein says, “…crazed mass murderers take a group of touring musicians hostage before slaughtering them all.” although thinking of a group of musicians dying from murder as tragic it does not really effect us much. We do not really have any emotions towars this group of musicians because no names are given and he just says they were slaghtered without using any details. So, I felt although it was a tragedy that all of those musicians dies it did not really effect me compared to when Edelstein says, “Well, one of the women isn’t exactly slaughtered: She’s left hanging in the doorway wearing her lover’s detached face; she ends up running into the road, where a semi turns her into multiple heaps of gleaming innards.” This line to me was much more effected because through Edelstein’s details you can vividly see this womans torture. I think it defiantly makes us think to ourselves, “Why would anyone want to watch this?” which is Edelstein’s overall purpose in writing it.

        • Liam Lonegan November 25, 2012 at 10:57 pm

          You know, you’re right in saying that the musicians’ murder was lacking description. Edelstein only says that they were, in fact, slaughtered. Even though you said that this section did not effect you as much as the next, would you ever find this vague image…funny? I realize how embarrassing this is to even admit, being amused by such a terrible act, but Edelstein’s words hit me in a way that makes me giggle.
          When we think of a murder, we may think of a gang fight, or an old western. My schema of a slaughter might’ve been an adult lion eating an antelope. In a thousand years, the word “musicians” wouldn’t’ve popped in my head. When I do confront the word, I quickly picture the chubby tuba player or the female “diva” flautist (that may also be my immediate prejudice) having their jolly tune be interrupted by a mass murderer. To me, in my own head, I was entertained by the image. But maybe I was entertained because of the fact that it was vague and not as expressive. When are murder anecdotes too detailed? Do we become discouraged when they are?

  16. Sara Lavelle November 20, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    “Seen any good surgery on unanesthetized people lately?” was an odd way for Edelstein to begin his conversation with the reader, or was it? When I first began reading the introduction was just a foreshadow to his weirdness however it was an example of mine. The rhetorical question follows with an immediate explanation to his strange conversation starter. He brings up Hostile, which I have seen, making me feel judgmental and embarrassed. The judgmental affiliation came within because I right away saw this man as crazy while it was understandable to start like this because of the hit movie Hostile. Which brings me to the embarrassment because while I assumed anyone who has seen one is crazy, I have recently seen one and though nothing of it. Edelstein already began his psychological examination on the human mind when watching horror movies with just the first sentence.

  17. Liam Lonegan November 25, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    In ¶8, Edelstein mentions a blurb from Will Self about morality. It is very important that the reader realizes why Edelstein puts that quote into his argument.
    When we are young, as some may learn in the Human Development chapter of a Psychology textbook, we learn about right and wrong. Through almost all of the learning stages, we realize that murder is absolutely wrong and unforgivable. It only happens during the last levels of moral development that one comes up with abstract ideas to defend murder. Edelstein realizes that torture porn has caused viewers to empathize the bloody and creative murderers. In some scenes, we see the murder from the accomplice’s view, in some we see it from the murderer’s view etc. When the moviegoers watch the scene from the murderer’s POV (point of view), the viewers tend to feel responsible for the slaughter. Not that they feel stressed that they may be arrested or charged, but they feel morally responsible.
    What Edelstein wanted us to realize, through Self’s quote, is that it is wrong of the filmmakers to put that subtle responsibility on the viewer rather than take credit for it. They are the creative and “sick” ones, and they shouldn’t hide behind their slate.