Lately, I’ve been hiding under a rock due to health issues (my kidneys) and have been devoting my time to my family/my health/my life outside being a ghost in a machine, as it were. Priorities.
On that note, I try to put out “content” on a semi-regular basis but if I don’t have anything to write about or if I’m working on a piece but it’s not going anywhere at the moment, then I won’t publish it. I believe in quality over quantity so I won’t post something every single day for the sake of posting something – I’ll just post when I feel compelled to write something.
This is one of those times.
Devin Faraci is a blogger. If you don’t know his name, don’t worry because you’re really not missing out on much. He is notoriously vicious on Twitter to any opinion that contradicts his own, absolutely hyper-critical of film makers to the point of needing restraining orders filed against him, and all around a big ol’ flaming pile of human excrement.
Many years ago, I tweeted to him not knowing who he was because I was relatively new to Twitter. I was ornery, I suppose, and called him out on spelling the Daredevil character, Elektra’s, name wrong. I figured someone in entertainment journalism, let alone one heavily involved in geek culture as he seemed/claimed to be should have some journalistic integrity and copy-write. Now, I know typos happen and more than once my phone or computer has tried to spell-check “Elektra” because it’s not the common spelling of it but, for whatever reason, I fired at him. Possibly unkindly, I’ll admit, and it wasn’t my proudest moment maturity-wise; we all have bad days. His response wasn’t a professional “I’ll fix it” or “thanks for bringing this to my attention but maybe you could be more mature?” – I would have granted him the latter because I was, as I said, being very immature in my initial contact with him. I won’t even say that a snippy response from him would have been unwarranted, either. Whenever you say anything, be it on the internet or in person, you are responsible for those words and the verbal repercussions (if not threatening) are something you earned. I’m sorry, but I firmly believe that. You can’t call someone unprofessional for misspelling something and not expect at least some rejoinder on the same level.
What I received was nowhere near the same level. What I received back was his assertion that not only was I a piece of shit for pointing out his error, but also that no one cared about me. Not that he, himself, didn’t care about my criticism but rather that NO one cared about me. Honestly? I laughed. I’d gotten a rise out of him and I was clearly half-trolling/half-serious. I’ve been called much worse by much better people. His blocking of my Twitter account actually got me a writing gig on another site where the owner hated Faraci with a fiery inferno. The owner of that site and I might not see eye-to-eye on much, but I think the one thing he and I can bond over is our common distaste of Devin Faraci. Hell, it’s what lead him to “hire” me (“hire” being a loose term here since I was never actually paid for my work…).
Years passed, the leaves changed their colors more than a few times, and Devin Faraci lived on, becoming somewhat infamous for e-screaming at critics of his on the internet and sending his “fanboys/girls” after people with dissenting viewpoints, credible or not. The script was so formulaic it was laughable: 1. Faraci says something incendiary, 2. Someone issues a rebuttal argument, 3. Faraci calls them a misogynist, racist, asshole, piece of shit, etc. etc. etc., 4. Faraci blocks said rebutting person, 5. Rebutting person is on the receiving end of harassing tweets from Faraci’s followers. Whether Faraci specifically sent these e-warriors or not is not something I can speak to – I don’t really know – and I think people should be accountable for their own actions.
Then, a year ago, it came to light that he sexually assaulted a young woman. He admitted to it and this self-professed lover of women and feminist attempted to make rape seem like alcoholism in that he said that it was something he needed to “work on”. Let’s make something very clear – rape is a crime…not a weight loss plan…not an “eat/pray/love” voyage of self-discovery and healing…it is a CRIME that people should be punished for under the full weight of the law. Are we on the same page? I sure to God hope so.
A year later, Faraci was not prosecuted and is now gainfully employed as an entertainment journalist/blogger by Alamo Drafthouse, a chain of “drink while you watch a movie” cinemas. I actually like cinemas like that and I have been to a Alamo Drafthouse in San Antonio back in the day, when I was training to be a cop in the Navy. Fun fact? Before I became a cop, I knew that rape was illegal and disgusting. Now that he’s been re-employed (and, as some have supposed, never fired in the first place and simply paid under the table), it casts a significant pall over the business of entertainment journalism.
And let’s not get that twisted – it’s a business. It makes major amounts of money per year because it’s part of movie studios’ strategies and public relations plans. Bloggers/journalists/what-have-you are paid to go write about movies at junkets. To get invitations to those junkets, they have to write some pretty, fluffy bullshit about some crappy movies to get a seat at the table. Some make it to that table by not being a “shill” but conversely what studio is going to invite a journalist that is constantly shit-canning their movies in the press? Not a one. I’m sure someone has found a happy medium. It’s, at the end of the day, politics and if this is news to you, I’m sorry to shatter the illusion of entertainment journalism. The job in and of itself is fun so, depending on your view of it, the ends justify the means. Who wouldn’t want to jet-set to major cities on a movie studio’s dime, get free swag, and meet/interview celebrities? Hell, I did it (albeit as a contest winner) and I had a blast. It felt like being Cinderella at a ball. I was surrounded by all these people that loved movies as much as I did and specifically the movie I got to see (for free, in New York, before anyone else). How amazing an opportunity is that? I’m still grateful for being selected.
I got bitten again, as it were, by the bug of journalism again. I yearned to write again. If anything, it jump-started my desire to start this blog and seek out internships and new learning experiences. This isn’t to say that entertainment journalists and journalists in general don’t work hard – they do. This isn’t even to say that they are all shills – most of them aren’t and a lot of them got to their seat at the table honestly but it’s still political at the end of the day and guess what, that’s business. The hours are long, the deadlines are crazy, and they have to play the game which I’m sure sometimes makes them feel kind of cheap and used but I’m not going to judge them for that – everything comes with a price, especially a cool job like that.
Faraci getting rehired isn’t that shocking, honestly. Is it disgusting and repugnant? Yes. Will I go to an Alamo Drafthouse again? Nope. Does it really matter in the grand scheme of things? Yes and no. Yes in the sense that Faraci committed a crime and acted as if his crime was just a character defect he needs to overcome. No in the sense that the accuser, though fully vindicated as to the veracity of her allegation by Faraci’s own confession, has apparently “forgiven” him for raping her. She chooses to move on and since she’s the victim here and it’s her life, as much as I don’t agree with it, I have to accept it. It’s her choice. I cling to the comfort that there’s a special level of Hell for people like Faraci in the hereafter but that’s just my personal ethos.
While we’re on the subject of ethos, let me tell you why Faraci being re-hired DOES matter and in what way. His “fans/friends”. And I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill fanboy that gets notifications of his every posting because they secretly want to be him: a doughy, pubic-hair-faced fake that bitches about movies and women’s rights on the internet on his phone with one hand while groping some non-consenting girl’s ass with his other. I’m speaking of, rather, other entertainment journalists that have leapt to his aid. Rather than vilifying his conduct and being angered that he collects a paycheck doing a cool job that will put him in MORE contact with women to victimize, they’re accusing Twitter/the internet-at-large of being “too critical” and “just looking for someone to crucify”. If we’re going to allude to crucifixion, let’s bear in mind that rapists and murderers were also crucified on Golgotha alongside Jesus. Jesus Christ, Faraci is most certainly not. Jesus shouldn’t have been crucified (personal opinion I’m sure is shared by many) and he wasn’t a rapist (fact) – pretty easy conclusion upon which to land. People always use crucifixion as a metaphor for wrongful vilification or accusations while forgetting that it was the more popular way to execute criminals at the time. Ironically, the crucifixion imagery holds up if they’re referring to anyone else but Jesus in the historical framework paralleled with current events – but sadly, they’re not.
I know in my heart that the few entertainment journalists that have rallied to Faraci’s side of things are few and far between and there are still good entertainment journalists out there – ones that use their influence/fame/access to give thoughtful reviews/news of entertainment for the public and help out their community (see my article on Scott Carty using his connections to secure an amazing goodwill “Superhero for a Day” venture for a child who is now in remission from cancer). I know there are good people at Alamo Drafthouse and affiliates (one resigning in protest when Faraci was rehired). I know good people exist. I unfollowed, for as much as they give a shit about me, the people using “straw-men” arguments of Twitter being too hypercritical or people being “too sensitive” when they, themselves, are self-professed feminists that got pissed off when President Trump mentioned grabbing a woman by her genitals (which I also don’t condone)….all while defending a self-confessed rapist. One such editor/journalist of a movie website was angry at a Tweeter for calling her “sweetie” when he called her out for her saying Faraci was “trying to be a better person” and we should all just give the poor guy a break. I unfollowed these people knowing full-well it’s a door closed in the entertainment journalism industry. It’s a loss of a contact and possible job but I don’t care. The day that I pause for even a minute, pondering if I should sever a contact so devoid of human principles, is the day I need to make some major changes in my psyche/moral compass direction. If the only way I can get a job I want is to publicly or privately back assbags like Faraci or people who support him, then it’s not a job I want.
As of now, I remain completely blessed that I can pursue my hobby/dream job of writing whatever the hell I want whenever I want. I have no strings, as Pinocchio once famously sang (although I’m not a compulsively lying little shit like he was, either). I might not ever get a paycheck for sticking to my morals but that’s an outcome with which I can certainly live. I don’t deserve a medal for it – it’s something to which all people should adhere but unfortunately do not. I’m human and I make mistakes as much as anyone else but one mistake I will never make is giving a pass to a scumbag rapist.