On the other hand, here is a film script excerpted from our girl Yoko Ono’s 1964 arty book Grapefruit. In Grapefruit, Yoko writes poetical instructions for arty stuff, theoretically for the reader’s own lobes to complete. Like “go sit out in the sun and eat a tuna sandwich.”
What a lazy artist. Trying to oil out of making the tuna sandwich herself.
“Burn this book after you’ve read it!” Yoko writes in the overleaf. I suppose that seemed pretty subversive in 1964.
“The best book I’ve ever burned!” witty Beatle John Lennon adds in the 1970 edition.
But back to the script. Oops! Feminism Fail. To wit:
Film No. 5 (Rape, or Chase)
Rape with camera. One and a half hours, colour, synchronized sound.
A cameraman will chase a girl on a street with a camera persistently until he corners her in an alley, and, if possible, until she is in a falling position.
The cameraman will be taking a risk of offending the girl as the girl is somebody he picks up arbitrarily on the street, but there is a way to get around this.
Depending on the budget, the chase should be made with girls of different age, etc. May chase boys and men as well.
As the film progresses, and as it goes towards the end, the chase and the running should become slower and slower like in a dream, using a high-speed camera.
I have a cameraman who’s prepared to do this successfully.*
Something’s just a tad awry with the scenario. Something churns just slightly the viscera of the Spinster Aunt of the New Millennium. It gives her auntly nostrils a wee enwrinklement. What could it be?
Gosh, I wonder if it’s that the script proposes a fucking snuff film? A dude hired by the artist to randomly select women on the street and run them to earth, filming them the whole time? And Ono thinks there’s a “risk” that the victims of this predation might be “offended” by what she has no problem calling “rape,” yet proposes there’s a “way around” it? What way would that be? After the terrified victims are cornered “in a falling position” in the alley, does the dude chirp “Smile! You’re on Candid Rape Camera!” and everybody has a good laugh? Or does Yoko simply pay her off with John’s dough?
I bet she’s got a cameraman who’s “prepared to do this successfully.” Pervy motherfuckers with cameras aimed at victimized women are never in short supply now, and I doubt it was any different in 1964. That she’s using footage of actual victims shot from the point of view of one of these predatory knobs puts this feminist statement pretty unequivocally in Bogus Town.
This film, now titled more succinctly “Rape”, actually got made in 1969, co-directed by good old John Lennon. Coincidence? I think not. It featured a young undocumented, non-English-speaking immigrant woman chased through the streets of London by Yoko’s willing camera dude. The apparent randomness of the victim’s selection by the camera dude was bogus; the woman’s own sister colluded with Yoko to set her up (nice). The 77-minute film ends, according to this essay, with the woman “curled up on the floor, shielding her face from the intruder.”
The aforementioned critique (written by a dude) excuses the Ono-Lennons from this pretty creepy ethical lapse by suggesting that the importance of the film as a fucking pomo “Truth-Event” supersedes the right of a woman not to be chased by a predator through London for the sake of an art fling or for anything else. The author alludes to the film “Rape” as a “feminist masterpiece.”
Check this fucking pomo violence-rationalizing shit out (I swear I didn’t get it from the PoMo Generator):
However, if we are to submit “Rape” to examination under Badiou’s framework of the Truth-Event, then questions of moral knowledge suddenly become less relevant (perhaps even completely irrelevant if we consider that the Truth-Event shatters the preceding positive ontological order of Being) [...] “Badiou calls the language that endeavours to name the Truth-Event the ‘subject-language’. This language is meaningless from the standpoint of Knowledge, which judges propositions with regard to their referent within the domain of positive being.”
What’s one more woman sacrifice? Jesus in a jello mold, this fucking analysis is even more problematic than the film. For one thing, no “feminist masterpiece” can exist, pretty much by definition.
Furthermore, for a spot of art to be considered feminist, it should, at the very least, refrain from inflicting actual terror on actual women.
Iy yi yi.
* Excerpted from Art and Feminism by Helena Reckitt and Peggy Phelan. Yoko Ono, ‘Film No. 5 (Rape, or Chase)’, Grapefruit (Tokyo: Wunternaum Press, 1964).