True Visions of False Realities

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Yet environments, almost by definition, elude critical analysis, lawmaking, moral philosophy. They leave us sputtering, sure that something is wrong but puzzled about what can be done about it. Herzfeld, for example, is worried about his work's obvious bloodiness but says he wanted to show "that real violence has real consequences." Similarly, Minahan wonders, "Did I make a film about exploitation or an exploitation film?"

We must wonder whether either film will achieve Minahan's stated goal of making the audience "look at television, re-examine their desire to watch and what they watch." It may be that some of the audience, applying irony to reality shows and their own guilty pleasure in watching them, is more like Minahan the devoted viewer than Minahan the earnestly questioning filmmaker. These edgy films at least remind us that our sleazy, cheesy pop culture relies on our complicity, our indolence and passivity, to do its deadening work.

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