Language & Composition

Mr. Eure | Brewster High School

Throwing Metaphorical Rocks

We started with this set of essential questions:

  • Why do many Americans love horror films?
  • What do cinematic violence and the business of fear teach us about our society?
  • To what extent is the last decade’s trend of so-called “torture porn” a sign of depravity?
  • If “torture porn” is no longer earning as much at the box office, have we grown a conscience, or are we simplydesensitized?
  • To what extent are the creators of cinematic violence ethically responsible to society?
  • To what extent can we agree on the definition of obscenity or profanity?

We added these in class on Wednesday and Thursday:

  • In a high school setting, is it enough to censor the profanity in an argument replete with it? Should the profanity be left uncensored?
  • What about violent imagery or sexual analogies?
  • In general, to what extent should the material we read be modified for content?

And we’ve annotated and discussed how Rowles writes. Use any or all of that to augment our in-class discussion in the comments section of this post. Keep in mind the optional assignment given to you on Friday, as well: Contact Rowles through email with serious, articulate, and intelligent questions about his argument (e.g., his central claims, his style, how he feels about the article five years later). If you choose to write him, remember to use your school email, and take care to edit your work before sending it.


28 responses to “Throwing Metaphorical Rocks

  1. Danny DePaoli December 1, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Rowles writes with a very casual tone throughout the entire review. He opens up with this casual tone in the title, and continues this tone with his transparency, as well as the “choice” words that are scattered about the piece. This casual tone appeals to the reader’s of our generation, as these are words that we are all familiar with, and can relate to hearing. In a usual context, if these words were used to describe a person’s point of view of a topic, i would find it childish, and ineffective. The use of these words in an intellectual conversation, makes the speaker’s argument weaker, because they use these words as a crutch to express things that they cannot put into their own words. However, in this review, the use of curse words is effective because it contributes to the transaprency that begins in the first few fentences. It would consider it a denial of reality to demand a censorship of these words in this piece, because censoring the words does nothing. It is a denial of reality, because by making this demand, you are implying that kids our age should not be exposed to these words, which we obviously are everyday. This censorship accomplishes nothing in the end, because when reading the review, i still read the censored words as if they were not censored at all. The fact that a few dashes separated me from diction that is apparently innapropriate for me, did absolutely nothing. To play devil’s advocate, I can see why these words would be required to be censored in some cases. Everyone has a different view of what should be considered obscene, which very often reflects how protective they are of the innocence of their child. However, as stated in my class’ group chat, hearing most of these words became a mundane occurence to us in about the 6th grade. Without a teacher waling us to each class inbetween periods (as it is in 5th grade) we are open to ore freedom. It is this freedom that is the overall killer of our innocent 5th grade counterparts.

    • William Eckner December 2, 2012 at 10:06 pm

      I agree with you Danny, about the effectiveness of censorship. The bleeping out of words isn’t going to prevent people from being offended by the words, however, it may detract from the purpose of the piece. I actually think that the Miller Test is accurate and it relates to a lot of what the class is looking at. Mr. Eure was the arbiter in this case and, once he determined that the “Captivity” article had something to offer the class, it had value, then censorship was unnecessary. To clarify, I don’t believe that something should be banned if it passes the Miller test, but I think that the test does accurately define obscene and the fact that the test is subjective makes sense because what is obscene to one person may not be obscene to another.
      Roger Ebert expressed a similar opinion in his response to the creators of “Chaos.” He said, “What I object to most of all in “Chaos” is not the sadism, the brutality, the torture, the nihilism, but the absence of any alternative to them.” Ebert, in his response, also speaks about Greek tragedies and how they overwhelm the reader in with sadness and a sense of hopelessness, like an obscene work, but redeem themselves and lift themselves out of the category of obscenity by teaching the audience about human nature.
      Profanity and violent imagery are fine, but there better be a good reason for their use. This is similar to the part of the Miller Test which states that something may be obscene if it, “lacks serious literary, artistic, political. or scientific value.” If something is obscene, it has more serious problems than a few curse words or violent images. It needs to find a purpose, or some sort of meaningful message for its audience, in order to justify its use of profanity.

  2. Jessica Lau December 2, 2012 at 10:45 am

    In paragraph nine, Rowles writes only one sentence: “Spoilers here on out, for the douchebag degenerates that actually want to see this bulls—.” He isolates this sentence from any other paragraph and makes it as its own paragraph in order to exemplify its significance from the rest of the article, in which its significance is that he is simply qualifying any person who actually wants to watch the movie for the sake of watching torture porn. Of course, “douchebag degenerates” isn’t exactly a polite or “clean” way to qualify people, but all in all, addressing people that want to watch Captivity as this qualifies them as being extremely disrespectful (to women in this context) and like to see women being kept at a lower level in a microcosm representing what society should be to a certain person (this certain person possibly being director Roland Joffe and the screenwriters of Captivity in this context). I also notice that Rowles uses the word “that” following “douchebag degenerates”, when he could have used the word “who” instead of “that”. Although this is only the change of one word, I think Rowles is further qualifying the movie watchers’ extreme disrespect toward women because when someone uses the word “who”, a human is being addressed or acknowledged. However, “that” usually addresses or acknowledges an object, so Rowles refuses to acknowledge these “douchebag degenerates” as even being human because they shouldn’t be accepted as being people because they want to watch a movie that is offensive to the female sex for entertainment, giving them the same treatment the director of Captivity does to the woman victim, which is simply objectifying a person.

    • Ashleigh Titre-Barnor December 2, 2012 at 8:05 pm

      I agree with you Jessica. I also feel like Rowles is not only qualifying the disrespect towards women but also the mindset of the people who watch the movie. Yes, people watch the movies for certain reasons. However when the movie is used for specific entertainment it becomes unsettling and inappropriate for other people to think about (such as ourselves). Rowles did state “That we’re not actually a nation of sick, twisted frat-boy f—ers who’d get off on this sort of depravity”, but then why would someone create the movie in the first place? We cannot judge this director for wanting to create a horror movie franchise. If we go back to 2004, Saw became an international horror movie franchise, lasting six years. There is a reason as to why the movie kept on going. People (viewers) craved this type of movie. Maybe these types of movies are not appealing to us, yet to other people, it is amazing. Rowles categorizes only “frat boys” as the cravers for movies like Captivity, where Saw again for example, was loved and treasured by mostly everyone who watched.

  3. Ashley Monaco December 2, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    I think that by Rowles writing with such profane language it gets his point across about how outraged and appalled he is from this film. If Rowles were to write this review with cleaner language I think this review would of lost its meaning and we defianlty would not of seen how much hatred and abhorrence Rowles has towards the film Captivity. To answer the question above, I do not think their is much purpose in censoring profane language. A typical high school student can most likely figure out what every single censored word in this article means. This is because we are constantly surrounded by these words. Not only throught the hallways but through music, the spread of technology, and articles such as this one. At this point right now I do not think anything should be censored because everyones innocence has already been lost. I think this is partly because of the rapid growth of technology that has occurred these last couple of years. Profanity is seen everywhere online especially with the growth of social media websites such as facebook and twitter. Adolescents now have the oppurtunity to text anyone at any time, using whatever profane language they want without being monitored by an adult. Just like we said in class, it is freedom that takes away innocence and the use of texting is allowing innocence to be taken away at a much faster rate. My younger sister for example would never use profane language while around adults, however I know that she texts her friends using profanity and that is because she has no one monitoring the language she is using through texts because no one except for her peers sees what she is saying. I know I have defiantly lost my innocence through the use of technology. In middle school, I was constantly surrounded by high schoolers from my after school activity and I was surrounded by them typically unsupervised. They would use certain language or references that I had no idea what they were talking about but through the immediate use of technology I could easily figure out what these words and references meant through websites such as urban dictionary. At this point I do not think their is much purpose in censoring certain language, especially when used as an adjective like Rowles used in his article. Although by using some of these words in writing might cause the writer to sound immature or unsophisticated Rowles uses them correctly. Their is simply no better diction to use to show his abhorrence of the film Captivity.

  4. McKenzie Callahan December 2, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    In a high school setting, if an argument is being studied, like Rowles review for “Captivity,” contains profanity, the language should not be censored. If the language is censored it would take away from the meaning of that piece of writing. In class the profanity in Rowles review was censored, but still legible as what word really belonged. As I read the piece I read the curse words, I did not bleep them out. I think that there was no point in censoring those words because it did not do anything, the words still held meaning. I think it would be wrong if the words were completely removed or censored to the point where the reader couldn’t tell what the word was. I think that it would take away from the whole meaning of the piece and not allow for the authors true intentions to be visible. I also think that in a high school setting, kids are no longer babies, or small children, therefore they should not be shielded from the world any more. These words are not harming anyone in any physical or mental way. Yes, maybe we wince at the sound of the f-bomb, but it is not anything new that will scar us for life. Everyday in the halls, the busses, and even class rooms we hear the words that were in this review. If we are to study anything in class it should be handed to us the way that the author intended it to be. That means no modification, no censoring, and no removing of any words. This is the only way to get the complete meaning.

    • Sara Lavelle December 2, 2012 at 9:34 pm

      I agree with you McKenzie , covering up the curse words with dashes was a waste of time because we all knew what he was saying and without knowing those words we would barely understand what he was saying half the time. I understand that the school would never want to publicize curse words nor endorse it however we have to accept reality that they’re used everywhere and they’re apart of education. When we think about all the “adult” books we read in class there are small curse words, maybe not the f bomb, but profane words nonetheless. I also agree with where you said we should read the review as the author intended us to read it. Although many people may not see curse words helpful in writing, yet takes away the meaning, they couldn’t be more than wrong when the person is a professional writer. The use of these profane words actually creates a deeper meaning.

  5. Marissa Milazzo December 2, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    To discus this review written by Rowles on a personal and general term, I loved it. This review, to say at least, got its point across. Yes, Rowles used many harsh and profane words to do so, but one couldn’t argue against his objective. Right off the bat, the reader could tell Rowles hated the movie Captivity, actually, one could tell just by the title! If reading this review without the profane words, the whole tone of the article immediately down grades. With such words, it is obvious that Rowles is filled with rage, anger, hatred. However, subtracting these words, switches the tone to just a simple upset, mad tone. In class, we were by ourselves, able to read the uncensored version if we chose to, but we were all handed a censored copy to hold onto. We were all asked “In a high school setting, is it enough to censor the profanity in an argument replete with it? Should the profanity be left uncensored?” In my opinion, nothing should be censored. As teenagers entering high school, we hold the responsibility to grow and mature into what we will become later on in life. High school in other words, prepares us for the real world. Therefore, what sense is it to block us from these words? After all, they are just words, no different from the ones in my response. In addition, whether the words have “—-“to bleep out the word, it does not make a difference. We all know what word it is, as I read the article in my head I didn’t say “un- bleeping-believable” so I ask, what’s the difference? We should all be mature enough to able a harsh word or two.

    • Liam Lonegan December 2, 2012 at 11:22 pm

      “In addition, whether the words have ‘—-‘to bleep out the word, it does not make a difference.” A very accurate statement. We read over the writing in full whether words are missing parts or letters. After senior year of high school, we (or most of us) are living on our own, responsible for our responses to situations we come across. We will cover our ears, like children, if our professor uses a curse in college? I hope not. We have to be ready for everything and personally, I think even more than pointlessness, censoring words for students is harmful to their growth and their maturity.
      However, we can understand one bit of the argument, can’t we Marissa? In younger grades, (such as middle school maybe) the students aren’t ready for cursing in the classroom environment. They aren’t at that developmental stage (psychologically) when they can see the argument Rowles is attempting to make; they focus on the words, and they may laugh or feel free to speak like Rowles does, which isn’t acceptable in school. They curse on their own time, of course, so if they were to read an article in class like “I am P—ed the F— Off,” they wouldn’t see the real meaning behind all of the word choices.
      Maybe those administrators who order for the words to be censored don’t give us (juniors and seniors) enough credit. They see us as having those middle school-like characteristics described above and don’t understand themselves, the purpose for all of the curses.

  6. Janet Austin December 2, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Rowles’ review may use some profane words, but in my eyes I do not see any of his review offensive. Even though I do not know Rowles, his word choice probably fits his personality. For examples, i do not curse. So if i was to write a review, I wouldnt have chosen such profane words. A censored version of this article had to have been done because of school rules. In trying to teach us precise language and such, if Mr. Eure had given out the un-censored version of the article, than he probably would have been in trouble. The school handbook states that inappropiate language goes against the morales of some people. Since we personally dont know each and every person in the school, than any profane lanugage heard or written can result you in getting into trouble. Even though we probably have all heard worse language either on the school bus or in the hallways. Censoring any language in any writing piece is essentially taking away the authors overall tone. Tone is a very crucial part for any writing piece, to censor anything will only ruin the effectiveness of the article. With our censored version, we all were able to tell which words were which. So, the words might as well been written in plain ink instead of being changed around.

    • Olivia Headen December 2, 2012 at 10:15 pm

      Janet I completely agree with you that taking out the profane lauguage would change the tone of the piece. The efffectivness would indeed be affected. I also feel as if it would change the authors personality or how he tries to portray himself. He obviously put the explicit words in the article for a reason and that reason may remain unknown but it also just may be the type of person that he is in the real world. I believe that giving us the censored article was the correct thing to do in a school setting. I know that if I went home and left the article on my kitchen table that my parents would be appauled that I was reading such language in school (if the explicit version had been handed out) but instead it is controlled by usinf the clean version without taking away the effectiveness of the piece even though the curses are removed.

  7. Andrés Jacobs December 2, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    There were two things that I found quite interesting about Rowles’s review. The first was the profanity running rampant through his review. This is quite an interesting thing to do due to how unprofessional it is. Cursing just once is unprofessional and frowned upon yet Rowles has it going all over the page. I believe this shows just how passionate Rowles is in his hatred of the movie. He doesn’t care how he comes off as a critic as long as the movie comes out worse. He could lose all the people who read his review (or be like us and read them for studying) as long as the movie loses more people. I could go further into the cursing but it’s been done quite extensively above me and I’m sure it’ll be done some more below me. The other thing I found interesting about Rowles’s review was that the plot of the film didn’t get mentioned at all until halfway through the review. Normally reviews have a bit of a preface, then the plot is detailed, then the critic expresses their opinion. Rowles voices his opinion long before saying the plot. I believe the purpose of doing that is so that when the plot does come up readers can relate back to what Rowles said earlier. If Rowles said the plot first people would have their own judgments. But by putting his opinion first people say, “oh yeah that is bad just as Rowles said,” as opposed to “Rowles made this out a lot worse than the plot.” These two different factors make Rowles’s review very effective in putting across his point that the movie is terribad.

    • Colin Cavanagh December 2, 2012 at 9:45 pm

      I also found it interesting that Rowles neglected to even mention the plot of the movie, however I believe that Rowles’ purpose in doing this was to emphasize the lack of importance that the plot plays in the film. When he finally does get around to the plot, Rowles makes sure to say (multiple times) that there is no plot. The plot, in his own words, is “An unknown man kidnaps a girl. He tortures her. He tortures her dungeon-mate. He tortures her some more. Then the two captives, inexplicably, f— each other.” The repetitive nature of this sentence (“tortures…”), along with the lack of any further explanation, leaves the readers with the impression that this film is simply violent and gory for no reason. In addition, Rowles’ use of the word “inexplicably” further demonstrates the lack of any coherent plot, as if he had not used this word, then we may have thought that there was some actual reason behind the two captives’ actions. However, using “inexplicably” makes it seem to us that this plot development does not have any sort of logical lead-up before occurring, thus emphasizing to us even further that there is, essentially, no plot in this film.

  8. Ashleigh Titre-Barnor December 2, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    In my opinion, I was intrigued by Rowles’ review. I did not find his profanity to be a loss for my interest. When the title itself stated, “I Am P—ed the F— Off”, I merely laughed. I laughed because the words blanked are obviously ones everyone is common with. People do not have to say the words, but do in fact know what they are. For such a professional man to be writing a public display of work with curses in it, I was amused. Rowles expresses his hatred through his writing of the review just as an angry person would when they are mad. I believe that when Rowles curses, he is proving his anger to a high extent. Anyone can just say, “I am angry”, but when he states he is “p—ed the f— off”, the readers can feel his anger. The words being bleeped off make no difference. I read the article playing fill in the blanks by myself and I understood exactly what I thought it should be. Also, throughout the review, Rowles continuously stated his curses or “profane words”. However, the last sentence of paragraph ten was memorable to me. The last sentence states, “Then the two captives inexplicably, f— each other.” Now, there are two reasons why I find this sentence to be very effective. First, this was also a short sentence. This sentence was after, “He tortures her. He tortures her dungeon-mate. He tortures her some more.” I could have stated that “He tortures her” was effective, (which it was) but I did not find it as effective as the last sentence. The shortness of the sentence makes the sentence seem like it was obvious to happen. If the sentence were longer with a little more detail, the reader can assume that this is what was going to happen in the movie as if it was a shock. However, Rowles just blatantly states the sentence as if the reader should see what is about to happen next. Second reason that I believe this sentence is effective is the curse, “profane word” involved. Most adults use “make love, making love” to define sexual activity among anyone. For Rowles, an adult, to yet again blatantly say “f— each other”, the sentence now seems abrupt and helpful. Since this is a movie review, this sentence can help its future audience by showing the captives sudden activity as to say the director, producers or whoever is in charge of the movie is foolish. Foolish because after the movie has shown the two captives being tortured, instead of finding a way to get out, they decide to “f— each other”? Rowles review was very effective and interesting. As a person who has watched the film, his review was very honest. The “profane words” in his review does not even compare to the movie itself.

  9. Tomi Alade December 2, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    When I read the title “I Am P—ed the F— Off” I laughed because it was being given at a school setting but at the same time I felt like there had to be a purpose as to why we were reading it. Dustin Rowles, the author set his outraged tone in the title by swearing. It was clear to the reader that he was angry and that he was going to express his anger fully. He wasn’t going to restrain it by holding off curse words. In paragraph six Rowles says, “Acid, people. Acid. F—ing sick deplorable s—. The whole movie makes Saw look like motherf–ing My Fair Lady with an industrial metal soundtrack.” Rowles makes a direct address to the audience to wake us up. To allow us to realize that this is wrong and that for someone to even think of using acid to burn someone alive is pure wickedness. He then says “Acid” again in it’s own sentence to reinforce and remind us of the corrupt mind of the person who thought of the idea. As if saying out of all things, they used acid. He then bluntly says his opinion in four simple words, swearing twice. He didn’t need to explain why he felt the way he did. It was obvious that his opinion would have a negative effect on the movie. His comparison with Saw and My Fair Lady which is a light hearted musical emphasizes the acid used in Captivity. Saw which is a well known horror movie is like to a musical compared to Captivity. We all know Saw is not a movie to watch with the family, it’s nothing compared to My Fair Lady. But in comparison to Captivity, Saw is nothing. Rowles used profanity as a rhetorical tool throughout the article but it wasn’t overused to the point that it became meaningless. He used it to emphasize his tone in a way that the audience, well aware of profanity, could relate to.

  10. Kaitlin Donohue December 2, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed Dustin Rowles’ review of Captivity. Reading his review brings up the question, “Does profanity add or take away from achieving a writer’s purpose?” In some sense, I can see how using explicit vocabulary would be considered a “crutch.” However, in this piece it works to his benefit. I think the profane words keep the reader interested. It also makes you see his tone right from the start. He is angry and disgusted with Captivity, which he makes apparent to his audience. He doesn’t want anyone to watch this movie, and through profane words and imagery I also don’t like this movie, and I haven’t even seen it. Although I think the curse words are beneficial to this writing, I think they should stay censored when we read them in school. Just because they have a positive outcome in this situation, doesn’t mean they are right. Curse words are not accepted completely in society; therefore they shouldn’t be shown in a learning atmosphere. Although we know what the words mean, that doesn’t mean we should use them. We are in high school so we should be mature enough to handle them, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they should be written out. Uncensoring this piece makes using the words seem ok and would teach us to use them. In conclusion, I think the material we read should always be modified.

    • Olivia Headen December 2, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      Kait I agree that material we read in school should alwasy be censored. If they curse words in a setting ment to teach us things, then doesnt it teach us to use these words? I also agree that they did work in the review of Captivity though. It entertains the audience while firmly getting his point across. Rowles’ tone is truely conveyed right from the start because of the title. I feel as if using the words even strengthened his appeal to the audience because his disgust of the movie flowed into me as I was reading his article and by the end I hated the movie even though I had never even heard of it before.

  11. Natalie Jara December 2, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Rowles use of profane language strengthens his point of view extremely. The fact that he uses so many profane words display just how much he didn’t like the movie. Since these profane words do have strong connotations they intensify his emotions and ideas. He’s proving to us that he doesn’t care about the words he’s using as long as he gets his point across, which he does. Also, when people do read his review, in their minds they know what each word is. The fact that it’s censored sometimes doesn’t even matter because the words are known either way. Since he uses so many profane words, he wants people to know how horrible the movie was. In a way they equal each other out because e’s saying how profane the movie was by using profane words. He’s giving them a taste of their own medicine by doing this. In a high school setting, we hear all different things being said in the hallways and in what everyone talks about. If there is certain news being spread people intensify it by using these words without knowing it simply because it’s what is used everyday. Since these words aren’t strangers in most teenagers vocabulary, then profanity shouldn’t be uncensored if it has educational value to it. For example, we are using this article for our topic on “torture porn” movies and the reviews they get therefore this review, with the amount of profane language in it, helps us understand what others think about these types of movies and how the public reacts as well. Censoring these words is pointless too because it’s what is being used in the real world. “If high school is suppose to prepare us for the real world, then how does censoring these words or censoring us from any profanity help us with that task?” This question was brought up in our class discussion and I thought it was a great question. An answer to the question is that it doesn’t; censoring profanity doesn’t help us for the real world. The real world doesn’t bleep everything out on the streets and in our everyday lives and most teenagers are already exposed to profanity at this point so what’s the use in adding those extra dashes? It doesn’t have a huge effect in the end. In Rowles review, he also describes some gruesome scenes from the movie that are pretty violent. These detailed descriptions of scenes could be considered worst than reading a profane word because it’s imagery that a person reads. When they leave the explicit scenes in Rowles review, then it doesn’t make sense to censor the profane words because those scenes are just as bad.

  12. Anthony Palmerini December 2, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    As Dustin Rowles uses profane language, people are actually drawn into the argument. People generally don’t start a review with “I am p—ed the f— off”, but that strangeness is a magnet to readers. Using profane language isn’t very professional, yet is so appropriate in Rowles’ review. Anger expressed with profane language is usually in the high levels of anger, and from the tone of Rowles’ writing, the profane language suits his purpose fine. Rowles doesn’t use foul language in everyother line, he uses curse words at the most opportune times, even giving his entire oppinion on the movie Captivity in one paragraph, one word form: “Unf—ingbelievable.” Simply profane yet simply perfect. Rowles also uses very intense images in his writing. Rowles states his disgust at the directors, writers, and producers by wanting to castrate them and feed the removed parts to wild animals and make the men watch the entire scene. Ironic as torture porn movies consist of some scene like the afformentioned image. Images of what the movie consists of, a blonde, gets drugged, endures much horror including shotgun blasting a dog and drinking human, all images painted quick and blunt. This combination of intense images and profane language boils down to Rowles purpose: this movie is so bad, do not watch it, as I want it to burn in failure. Rowles doesn’t blatently express this, he builds upon his hate to make an efffective argument, and creates his construction using the help of precise profane language and intense images.

    • Jess Eminizer December 2, 2012 at 10:03 pm

      I agree whole-heartedly with what you said about the title of the piece grabbing a reader’s attention and its lack of formality. I think that it makes it more relatable and interesting, and the informality creates a sense of trust and closeness that would not have been achieved were the title more clinical and regular. You’re entirely right; it’s an instant hook and it makes the reader feel like they’re seeing an unmitigated side of the author, which leads to the kind of trust and closeness you feel when someone opens up to you.
      I also am very intrigued by your point about irony. Do you think Rowles intended that as a way to prove his point? Was it sarcastic, maybe? Did he just not notice?

  13. Danielle O'Brien December 2, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Wow is the first word that comes to mind after reading this!!!! Rowles’ writing is both causal and powerful. Maybe, the fact that he uses everyday speech in such an influential way when he calls the movie “unf—-ingbelievable garbage” and continues to say that “Acid. F—ing sick deplorable s—” makes the reader stand up and pay attention to what is coming next. Maybe, it is the casual language that makes this article so forceful. Or, maybe it is just the nature of the topic, torture porn that keeps the reader’s attention. Whatever the reason the reader keeps reading on. There is a lot that is said during Rowles’ rampage against this movie; not only is he commenting on the creators and the producers he is also commenting on the movie goers as well. With respect to the creators/producers Rowles wants “to throw the filmmakers into the bonfire,” Rowles wants “to remove the three of them from the human race. along with the 12 producers, and the marketing team.” These few comments alone sum up Rowles” distaste, disgust and complete hatred toward these creators. Further on Rowles moves from the creators to the movie-goers by saying that he wants the creators to see “that we’re not actually a nation of sick, twisted frat-boy f—ers who’d get off on this sort of depravity.” Rowles is really trying to say that hopefully movie goers are above this sort of sick garbage but even he knows as one critic he cannot influence the masses; especially when he says “I couldn’t encourage you all to refuse to give your business to it.” Overall, this film review is powerful and honest. By using profane language it drives the point home that this particular critic finds no value in these types of movies no matter how triumphantly the character (in this case Jennifer) walks away in the end. By cursing out the director, Joffe at the end of the review the reader Is left almost feeling triumphant because Rowles told him off by saying “Well, f— that., and f— you, Joffe, et al.” What a way to end it all when as the reader you were thinking just that but Rowles put the your thoughts into words. Go Rowles!!!!

  14. Eiman Khan December 2, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Rowles’ certainly knows how to attract an audience. His use of profanity is a reflection of his enormous hatred for the film. Many can disagree and say Rowles use of profanity is unprofessional and immature; At first I thought Rowles was going a bit too far, then after taking a second look I realized there was much more to his use of profanity than I thought. His clever use of syntax was overshadowed by the number of swear words he used and that shouldn’t go unnoticed. And the fact that he connects the movie to society, specifically degrading women. There’s no reason reading the uncensored version should be an issue because we live in a world where they’re constantly being said, even in the hallways of our high school you can probably hear every single curse word in the four minutes you have to get to class. In other words ignoring profanity is impossible. Dustin Rowles’ use of profanity is his own style of expressing anger and that is something that must be respected because everyone has their own unique style.

  15. Danny DePaoli December 2, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    I agree with you Eiman. To someone who doesn’t know that these words actually are used for a purpose, which i believe is mainly to reflect tone, Rowles’ use of profanity will probably seem immature and ridiculous. From this standpoint, i can see why someone would want to have these words censored in the piece. Without understanding the true effects that the words have on the piece as a whole, it is only fair to demand that they be stricken from the piece.

  16. Jess Eminizer December 2, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    (i apologize in advance for the length of this post.)
    I believe that Rowles’ review provides an excellent answer to these questions.
    Rowles’ use of profanity sets the tone for the piece. It enforces his ideas and furthers the points he tries to make. He is derisive and grating and obnoxious because the movie was derisive and grating and obnoxious. The profanity and all of its implications are central to the argument, and should not be altered in any way. Rowles’ one sentence paragraph, which reads, “Unfuckingbelievable,” serves multiple purposes. Its brevity showcases his contempt by insinuating that there was simply nothing else to say. The tmesis emphasizes the curse’s bookends; the separation of the prefix from the word with such a furious insertion brings the focus not to the profanity, but to the word encompassing it and to Rowles’ livid anger. This kind of effect applies to the entire piece. It’s not the actual curses that are important because it’s a choice from very few words, but rather the time he decides to use them and the words surround them, which allows a much broader set of choices. It could be argued that the profanity is unnecessary and makes him seem immature. But in my opinion, he made that choice for a reason. He is clearly a capable author who has a tight rein on his diction (lovely sentences like “That we can reluctantly accept the insulting comedies, the drab thrillers, and the tiresome, lifeless romantic comedies, but that this sort of noxious cinematic poison is not only deplorable, but morally criminal.” prove that.) and he made the choice to use those words. The argument is replete with expletives because it was his metaphor of choice and his human way to vent in a relatable way and his method of showcasing his contempt; it is a writing choice just like any other. It would take away from what he wanted to say were the profanity to be edited out by him. To censor it later is not only useless, but a hindrance. As he planned it and thought it and wrote it, he used those words. It is foolishness to bleep out a part of his creative process and his tone—which is on par with simply deleting every paragraph’s opening sentence or removing every third step on a newly-built staircase—because he wrote it with that in mind. The audience would note the break in flow and the sense that something was gone, because his complete piece as he wrote it includes profanity.
    Rowles’ piece also gives a few excellent examples of violent images. His bit about emasculating the director which was—forgive me if I sound a little sociopathic—hilarious, was also vivid, contemptuous, and powerful. It’s an uncomfortable image full of crackling fires and gnashing dog teeth, and yet it is entirely apt. That description is so specific and entirely unachievable that the reader can only sit back and wonder where his anger comes from. The intended effect is not sickness or despair, but rather curiosity. What could make a mild-mannered reviewer feel such malice? Why is the choice of castration made? Both of the questions are later gracefully answered. As to the idea of sexual analogies… Rowles’ article is not as good an example as others. Last year, in Ms. Racic’s Pre-AP English class (and probably in the other pre-AP English classes), we read the transcription of a speech that described the rape of a child in detail. (I am afraid the title of the film is currently escaping me and my quick internet search yielded no helpful results. If anyone has the title, I’d greatly appreciate it.) It was uncomfortable and incredibly distressing and deplorable, and it was extremely well-written and it did just what it set out to do.
    I think that if we are given material in school, we are always given it for a reason (whether it be a lesson in diction or rhetoric or what have you) and I see no reason to alter that material. It should be presented to us in its original form, as the author intended, so that we may see the full product as they did and gain as much knowledge as possible. There is an argument to be made about the corruption of our nation’s youth and the protection of our innocence, as well as the precedent set in schools about cursing. But I believe that by the age we reach in high school, we as people have already establish attitudes about profanity. We have established how much it effects us, how much we let it effect us, and how we feel about using it. It is already a fact of life that we are mostly desensitized to. One could say that if it is acceptable in English class, then it is acceptable in the entire school. But let’s be real here for a moment: you can’t walk through a hallway without hearing the almighty f-bomb dropped at least twice. Perhaps cursing is not a habit to be encouraged, and perhaps violent images may unsettle certain people, but that doesn’t mean it should be censored in that material we study. Equality is important, and so is having all the information before making a judgment; no one should let fear control how teenagers are allowed to learn.

    • William Eckner December 2, 2012 at 10:26 pm

      I believe that the movie Ms. Racic showed us was “A Time To Kill.”

      As far as everything else you said, I agree that the censoring of words doesn’t protect us, because we hear the words frequently. One thing I found interesting was that, when I read the article, I didn’t even realize that Mr. Eure had failed to bleep out a few curses. They didn’t stand out in any way. I didn’t really see a difference between the censored words and the uncensored ones as far as offensiveness was concerned.

  17. Briana Merritt December 2, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    I, along with the rest of my peers seem to agree that in this type of high school setting, in general, it’s unnecessary to censor profanity. I’ve come to see that for the most part as a generation we are practically desensitized to profanity. Many of my peers mentioned how when they first read the title they simply laughed or were taken back a bit, but no ones feelings were hurt or was anyone offended by this use of language which is usually profanity’s goal, to incite some kind of emotion whether it be anger or sadness. I found Rowles use of profane language in his argument to go almost hand-in-hand with his tone that is both casual but infuriated. I for one after reading the uncensored version at first, didn’t even want to read the censored version. While it seemed silly to me at first, I never really realized how Rowles’ effective use of profanity proved to have such a great impact on the meaning. For example, “And, worst of all, she’s made to ingest a smoothie of blended human parts through a funnel. Just for kicks. Sick motherf—ing kicks.” That simply phrase changes everything. It turns the torture to a whole new level. She’s not only just being forced to do these unthinkably disgusting things, but she is being dehumanized. Rowles use of profanity in that sentence causes you to really slow down and pause, forcing you to really think about what you just read. In that short moment it is as if you, the reader, are thrown into her shoes, and now you’re the one being tortured. This torture is not in spite of or in revenge of something done, but simply just for fun. Without these small pieces of profane language, Rowles would had never gotten his point across. And in that case I can’t see how censoring material we read can in any way be beneficial.

  18. Colin Cavanagh December 2, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    While I thoroughly enjoyed Rowles’ use of various curse words throughout his review, I think at a point his use of this language actually began to hurt his purpose rather than helping it. While I do not find a problem with the use of profanity and I (like many of us, it seems) believe that censoring this profanity is unnecessary, I think that his over-use of profanity can actually be harmful to his purpose, not because it deters us from reading his review, but actually because it piques our interest in the film. Using a couple of profane words every once in a while could emphasize to us how much Rowles “f¬¬—ing hated Captivity,” however his overindulgence in this language almost emphasizes his hatred too much, to the point that we (the reader) become fascinated with why he hates this film so much. Unfortunately for Rowles, his extreme abhorrence actually makes us wonder if the movie really is that bad, and, much like with a horrific train wreck or a mediocre quarterback fumbling off of his own lineman, we are compelled to look, even if we don’t want to.
    Had Rowles used profanity sparingly and simply described the events of the film to us, then we most likely would be thoroughly disgusted by the thought of these events and would not have wanted to see the film. However, because the profanity and violent imagery escalates to such preposterous levels (“I want to remove their testicles and feed them to wild animals while they look on in horror.”), Rowles actually compels his readers to start thinking how one film could cause a normal film critic, who are normally mild-mannered in their reviews, to start wishing violence upon nearly everyone involved with the film. While there are certainly some readers who would not want to see this film because of Rowles review, there are others who would want to at least watch part of the film to see if it really is as bad as Rowles says it is. In a way, Rowles review gives the impression that the movie falls into the category of a “So-horrible-that-you-have-to-watch-it-in-order-to-comprehend-the-horribleness-of-it” film. (Films which fall into this category for me, though for different reasons, include The Human Centipede and all of the Transformers movies; scrap that, any Michael Bay movie.) Despite Rowles’ obvious intentions to stop anybody from seeing this film, his extreme reaction to the film could actually cause some of his readers to see the films simply to see if Rowles was just overreacting or if the film is really worthy of such a profanity-laced tirade.

  19. Liam Lonegan December 2, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    Taking a bird’s eye view of our present society, when discussing horror and torture, many debatable opinions arise. Money at the box office for torture porn films is decreasing dramatically, and I think boredom is responsible for the trend. More than for entertainment, people bought tickets to movies like “Saw” to be able to say that they went. They weren’t as concerned about having a fun time. It’s a conversation starter. A type of entertainment that pushes the limit is attractive to the typical society member (the definition of “typical” goes back to our discussion in class last Wednesday, someone with average morals maybe), but once the entertainment isn’t considered “over the edge” and “risky” anymore, some of the rush of views dies out. Take Lady Gaga for instance, who screamed for attention in her meat dress at an award ceremony. She was very successful and very popular at one time. Sadly, I haven’t heard her name in months. The riskiness has died and the entertainment is now considered vapid by most people. Also, I think people are desensitized, but also have jumped back down to original standards for a satisfying film: exceptional story, effects and acting. Sadly, not many torture films satisfy all of this criteria.