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August 21, 2006

Comments

Mr. Reasonalble

"Dakota's mother (and manager) WAS on the set; as was Cindy Osbrink, her agent. Both sat at the back of the set and witnessed Dakota's desecration without protest"

Oh, so now you admit that her mom were on the set. Not the closed set you alluded to before!
As to Dakota not being a teen..thirTEEN IS a teen. and though she was 12 when she acted in this film, she is not, and was not just any little girl.
First, Do you have any kids? I have two grown daughters so i have been through every faze of childhood and teendom. Dakota willing to do anything to make her mom happy? PLEEZZZE...most parents can't get their daughters to clean their rooms let alone strip and be fondled in front of grown men and strangers on a movie set!
As I said before, Dakota smartly didn't want to be typecast as a "little girl" forever, and follow in the footsteps of other child stars who were told to be a "kid" for as long as possible. No, this smart "kid" knew what she was doing. She was trying to do the most controversial thing possible to change the publics mind set. Do you remember Jodie Foster? She was a "child" star until she played a child prostitute in Taxi Driver at age 12 (hmmm..the same age as Dakota!) Now, what did giving a blow job to Robert Di'Nero do for poor Ms. Foster? Well, it propelled her eventually to be an Oscar winning actress and director. So, you say, Jodie's scene wasn't as graphic as Dakota's...but..now you must eat your words because above you said it was the "PSYCHOLOGICAL" damage of being in an adult scene that is the issue. I could bring up Jena, and Brooke too but in these case as well, you don't have a leg to stand on IF you look into the realities of these actresses REAL lives, post-sexual trauma on the set.
Also, you intimate that Dakota is no longer an A actress, and her upcoming films are weak.
Even if true, it is more because of her transitioning from child to adult actress than anything else. It is hard enough these days to be a teenager. As a child star, when most fans want to keep you frozen in time for as long as possible,it is almost unbearable without a little luck and a good career move. Maybe Hound Dog is not the great film she hoped, but no one will fault her acting,nor her courage. THIS ALONE will assure her future success in the future.
Tell me this: IF Dakota (like Jodie, Brooke, and Jena)) turns out to be a well adjusted, and successful young women, probable winning an Oscar, and going to a prestigious university etc. will you send her a public apology for dragging her through the mud, and being part of a Christian cult that REALLY almost destroyed her life..will you Mr. Christan be able to turn the other cheek, as Dakota slaps it in disgust??

A Person who believes inFreedom free from control

So you have been set up as the authority for what is acceptable or not, you have had a vision like Paul, have you? So a young girl shouldn't be allowed to pose as a model and sell the pictures to further her career? Have you heard of Brook Shields? An abused girl, or a successful actress? Yet she mad a film even "worse," by your arbitrary standards, than Dakota Fannings movie. Dakota had no problem with the movie, as her interviews testify. But she cannot be allowed to do as she chooses, and her parents, the authority placed over her, allow, in your represive society, right? Where does you ability to tell others what to do, morally, end? Your view will end, and the ability of the individual, and family, to choose, WILL prevail, mark my words. Your society is dying, and the new, freer, more liberal one is coming, get used to it.

Steven Mark Pilling

Dear Unreasonable:

I don't know what you've been reading or by whom, but it's been known that Cindy Osbrink and Joy Fanning were on the set of "Hounddog" since the story first broke! What do you think it was that sparked so much initial outrage? That the film was reprehensible and sexually exploitative of children to an unprecedented degree was enough, of course. But it was their own words that really set off the powderkeg.

Joy Fanning: "I hope this will win her an Oscar."

Cindy Osbrink: "It [the rape scene] was tastefully done."

Those incredible and despicable words, made in the immediate wake of the "Hounddog" revelations, clarified to a disgusting degree the mindsets that have brought events to such a pass. Also; the "closed set" story was THEIRS. It has been disputed by witnesses and mocked by filmmaking veterans who know that the definition of "closed set" is very OPEN indeed.

Fourteen is "Teen". Not thirteen. In any case, Dakota will be a legal minor for another FIVE YEARS. Psychologically- for another two or three more! That's a fact of the human condition. She's not mature. And, if you think that she's in control of her life and career to any significant degree, then you're just plain crazy. Children are prohibited such decision-making powers by law and by nature. And, like all children, she's easily influenced by her environment, her parents and the other adult authority figures around her. This is only accentuated by the fact that her contacts withy other kids are very limited.

If your own kids won't clean up their room, it's your own parenting that's at fault. Now, ask yourself this: Would you lead your own daughters down the same road that Dakota's been recently led down? I would hope not. However, your closing comments, indicative as they are of an anti-Christian bias, already place your parenting directives in a suspicious light.

And yes, from the very beginning I've spoken of the moral and physical dangers to children inherent in graphic cinematic sex and violence. To Dakota- to other child actors- and, through them, to the children of America. This is my position- one backed up by history- and it remains so. I have no words to "eat".

If Dakota's life and career is dragged down into infamy, it will not be by my doing. It will be in spite of it. I'm just the messenger. The fault will lie with those adults about her in authority. It will also be with those who have abetted or supported their criminality by deeds and words. This means you.

However, like most elitists, you ignore the larger point. It's not all about Dakota Fanning. It's predominately about all the other children put at risk through the machinations of those same heartless and exploitative adults. She was just a tool of their immoral ambitions. It's all those other kids who matter, too. In that respect, she's just one of a great many.

No less important, though.

Steven Mark Pilling

Dear "Person":

You are obviously one of those domestic post-Soviet Marxists who believes that "freedom" equates no personal responsibility; to others, to children or to God. You also see children as little adults to be used as such, not as developing human beings to be cherished and guided into moral, productive adulthood. Apparently, your own parents shared your present delusion.

Our society is dying? Now when did I hear all that before? (Was it the 60s?) Now, look around you at the social problems that exist today. Crime, corruption, drug use, amorality, etc. Did they exist to anything like the present degree before the hippies appeared on the scene and made their play?

It did not. I was there. I saw the aftermath and know, first hand, the reasons why.

This is the legacy of your pseudo-intellectual predecessors. And where are they now, "Person"? The ones who survived the drugs, violence and disease (moral and physical) that they engendered, that is? Some are dirty bums on communes in the New Mexico desert. Others, no less bums in any way that matters, feed at the public tough in our country's benighted colleges.

Follow their path and you will share their fate... and mankind's condemnation. God's, too. Mark my words.

Mr. Resonable

Your points about Dakota having no say in what she does is just plain stupid. To accuse me of bad parenting because my kid acts like every normal teen is also insane.
I never said my kids did what they wanted, but I did have to impose some incentives, or consequences for their behavior. Ha you say, see..you had to use force, or parental influence..just like Dakota\\\'s mom. well, to extrapolate THAT is also insane. There is a HUGE difference between a parent taking away privileges for kids not cleaning their rooms,than FORCING an actress, young, or old, to do something that is embarrassing, uncomfortable, and a great deal more of an issue than taking out the trash.
Mt point was to say if kids will rebel about room cleaning, than they sure as heck are going to rebel about being semi-nude, and fondled by a strange actor!!
And again you MISS the point. As I commented before, you yourself said it was the PSYCHOLOGICAL damage that Dakota would suffer. However, when I cite examples of other child actors like Jody foster, Brooke Shields, and Jena Malone, you completely ignore the reality of the outcome of such negative \\\"perversity\\\" on THEIR lives..which seems to be NONE!!
\\\"And yes, from the very beginning I\\\'ve spoken of the moral and physical dangers to children inherent in graphic cinematic sex and violence. To Dakota- to other child actors- and, through them, to the children of America.\\\"
Again...where is your cited evidence that child actors have been horrible abused and harmed by acting mature roles. You say you are trying to \\\"protect\\\" them...but FROM WHAT??
It is YOU that think what they are being\\\"forced\\\" to do is ruining them, but you cannot take any child star who was in a \\\"sexual\\\" film scene who, BECAUSE OF THAT, spiraled downhill.
In fact, I contend that many, many child actors, have become druggies, criminals, and psychos because of the pressures of being a child star in general. So...maybe we should just ban children from acting all together, and hire adult midgets!!

Oh..to the other poster who went on a hippy-dippy tirade:
What the hell does the 60\\\'s have to do with crime you idiot. Crime, pillaging, raping, murderer has been the human condition for thousands of years! What about the gangsters of the 20\\\'s and 30\\\'s. Mafia of the 50\\\'s and 60\\\'s. CRIME didn\\\'t start with a few long-hairs protesting the Vietnam war? In fact, for all their stupidity, the hippies at least tried to fight the corruption they saw. Surely, as the survivors know now, drugs weren\\\'t the answer, but being a pot smoking flower child, is a long way from a \\\"gangsta\\\" in the \\\"hood\\\" were most crime today originates from, and..I think you forgot about illegal aliens...according to US statistics, over 30% of incarcerated criminals of violent crimes are illegals....so where ARE those horrible hippies....and did they cause Santa Ana\\\'s revenge??

It is SO sad that even though I am sure you mean well, you have hurt Dakota more than any movie experience could have done.
and it is even sadder that you continue to not see the obvious, like a Bishop, moving a pedophile priest from one church to another, only being concerned with appearances, not the realities.

You never DID answer what I asked: When Dakota becomes of mature age, and reflects, as an adult, what your misguided actions did, or almost did to her, will you have the courage to admit, that in this instance (since we ARE talking about Dakota here, the subject of your initial post) you were WRONG?
I think not. Because you are like the blind man touching the elephant.

Me

"I said that it was the first time children were used this way in the history of FEATURE films."

WRONG AGAIN, look up the movie "Angela (1995)"

http://youngactressreviews.org/mini_reviews/images.php?id=angela&shot=2

Sex play between two preteen girls, nudity, and sexual scenes with adults. What about "Kids" where an 18 year old boy sets out to have sex with as many virgins as possible including a graphic fully nude rape scene of a teen girl. Hmmm, and the yet to be released Ken Park with sex scenes involving minors, minors and adults, full nudity, and a fully nude masturbation scene with a teen boy. There are more such movies so STOP SAYING THIS IS THE FIRST FEATURE FILM IN HISTORY TO HAVE SEX SEXUAL CONTENT WITH MINORS AND ADULTS BECAUSE IT IS NOT. I'm not saying it's right to have these kinds of movies just that this one is not the first as you claim.

Now to the rest of your misinformation.

"made them strip and fondle each other"

THEY DID NOT STRIP, the scene was shot above the shoulders. She didn't actually watch David masturbate, Christoph did not hump on her, Cody did not pull down his pants and show his penis, and at no time was anyone nude during the filming. I read another review from someone who said that scenes 39 was in the movie and they lay beside each other and kiss, that's all, there was no touching.

"The Secret Lives of Bees" is not a minor animated film, it's a full length motion picture that deals with racial issues and Dakota is the main character. Expect some big names to play the black women which is yet to be cast.

"Winged Creatures" stars OSCAR WINNING Forest Whitaker and will start filming in March. This will be a good as some of the other films she has done and is no more traumatic than the other films.

He is my PROOF they didn't do anything wrong. Where's your proof??

Rex Gore, the district attorney in Bolivia, N.C., near where much of the movie was filmed, issued a statement to WND and others that he found "no violation" of the state's obscenity statutes or sexual exploitation laws.

And the film, it appears, was saved by its "artistic value."

"I am aware that there is an outcry from some who find the content of the film disturbing and distasteful. However, public opinion is not the test we must apply as prosecutors; we must apply the law. North Carolina's child exploitation statutes do not apply because none of the acts depicted in the film meet the legal definition of 'sexual activity' under our current law," Gore said.

He outlined state law that defined sexual activity as "touching, in an act of apparent sexual stimulation or sexual abuse, of the clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, or buttocks of another person or the clothed or unclothed breasts of a human female."

He said the scenes at issue "do not involve 'touching' any of those proscribed body parts as required under the statute."

Gore confirmed the state also can use "'simulated' sexual activity as a basis for prosecution" under the state's obscenity laws, but that is not enough – alone – for a case.

"We must show all of several other elements to establish a violation of state law. Among those are: (1) taken as a whole it must lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value, (2) taken as a whole it appeals to the prurient interest of sex, and (3) it is not protected or privileged under the Constitution," he said.

"'Hounddog' addresses the important issue of child sexual abuse and its effects. Despite the fact that the film uses a 12-year-old girl to portray a rape, we cannot conclude – as the law requires before prosecution – that an average person applying contemporary community standards would assign no artistic value to the film or find that the material appeals to the prurient interest in sex," he said.

http://www.bluelineradio.com/show127-2.mp3

Connie Jordan Asst. District Attorney Fifth District North Carolina: "We have absolutely no evidence that a crime has occurred, no evidence that a crime has occurred, I don't know how anyone expects us to go forward, I certainly understand that people were upset over the fact that this movie was filmed, ...., that's more of an issue of morality, it's not an issue of whether or not a crime was committed, we have absolutely no no evidence that any of that occurred, and from everything everyone said on the set it didn't, I know you said that you had people who were very upset and who had things to add but you would not tell me who those people were, .... you were not willing to come forward to tell me who those people were, without that I'm not sure how we are suppose to go forward, ...., we have determined that no crime has been committed in the fifth district, absolutely it hasn't, Rex Gore has determined, ..., where he has issued a statement and I agree with his determination that this is not child pornography under our sexual exploitation statues, ......., and I completely disagree with you, I completely disagree, we spoke with local people who live and work here and have children here who were on that set at the time when this was filmed, ..., people who had Wilmington phone numbers, ...., if I had any indication from anyone that I spoke with that a crime had been committed we would have gone on further, there was nothing else to look at in my opinion, ...., we had to have touching, everything everyone said, ..... absolutely not, nothing happened, ....., I spoke with these people at all different times, they were not saying the same thing, none of that"

http://i13.tinypic.com/4dpec6r.jpg

I have determined that no crime has been committed within the Fifth Judicial District. My office will not prosecute anyone associated with the production or distribution of this film.

http://www.heraldextra.com/content/view/208269/3/

But Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who watched the movie this week with his state's child sexual exploitation law in hand, said his concerns didn't materialize on the screen.

"None of the things on the Internet that people were saying about it were true," Shurtleff said. "Not only does it not violate the statute, I think it's a good message for people on the subject."

The opinion is shared by the district attorneys in the two North Carolina counties where "Hounddog" was filmed last summer.

Rex Gore, the Brunswick County district attorney, said prosecutors reviewed the movie in November and interviewed crew members, producers and star Dakota Fanning. The movie includes a scene depicting the rape of a 9-year-old child played by the 12-year-old actress.

"I am aware that there is an outcry from some who find the content of the film disturbing and distasteful," Gore said in a statement. "However, public opinion is not the test we must apply as prosecutors; we must apply the law."

Gore said there no evidence that the scene constituted "sexual activity" under North Carolina law, so child exploitation didn't occur. Even if there was simulated sexual activity, Gore said it doesn't cross the line into obscenity so long as the film has serious artistic value or is protected speech.

Steven Mark Pilling

Exactly, "Mr. Reasonable". There IS a huge difference between room cleaning by teenagers and a child being led to perform sex scenes on a movie set. That's where the psychological trauma comes in. Stop and consider the extraordinary circumstances of Dakota Fanning's childhood. She was a big success at a very young age and (until recently) highly popular and very much in demand.

With that, however, comes the downside. She's around adults all the time and seldom with other children- except professionally. Her handlers control her environment and keep her isolated beyond what they filter down to her. As an A-list actress, she becomes a huge financial asset. But, as a child, she stays emotionally (and legally) dependent on their guidance, however misdirected. Eventually, the lucrative actress takes precedence (in the minds of her supervisors) over the natural needs of the child. Money rules. That, by itself, is an old story.

Then, when puberty sets in, the inevitable crisis occurs. That big leap to adult roles is traditionally a tough one. Therefore, with the spectre of their percentages evaporating, they decide to sexualize her as soon as possible. They choose for her the low road to success over the high.

And how do they make her compliant? Two factors here: Their utter control of her environment and her natural impressionability and inexperience in life as a child. When the concepts of right and wrong become skewed in the heads of her own parents (as they notoriously are in the deranged precincts of Hollywood) then the corruption is passed on easily enough. Once you've filled a child's head with the concepts that she's "special" and "precocious" and therefore beyond the ordinary restraints, plus the idea that this will win her glory and acclaim...

There are any number of other ways, subtle and overt, to corrupt the heart and soul of a child under such conditions. Again, the story is not new to Hollywood. Nor is it unique to there. The lengths to which it was taken with Dakota, however, was. She was deliberately defamed in the process- to throw off her good image, to jettison her peer-aged fanbase, to gain her acceptance into the film industry's debauched domains... and to "advance" mainstream filmation into realms where only child pornographers had gone before.

And once there, how can she go back, even were she granted an epiphany later? This her handlers knew well. Once you've been thrown into a pit that deep, it's a hard climb out.. even for an adult.

Do such things harm a child and influence her development into an adult? How can they not?? Once again, it's hardly confined to Hollywood. Look around you! Children all over are poorly parented, abused and exploited. In many places, these incidents are to horrific levels, far surpassing Dakota's own pathetic story. Their traumas have a dire impact on their adulthood. It's the nature of things and the reason why a good, well-parented childhood is so terribly important.

Why, then, is Dakota Fanning such a concern? Her one-time prominence as a good example for kids, followed by her precipitous fall from grace, represents a danger to the hearts, minds and souls of children everywhere. So many of them once loved her and identified with her. Then they see this film or hear about it. They see her at Sundance, seated between two authoritative women, piously defending their actions (and use of her) with words they've cunningly placed in her mouth. What do they think then? What effect does all this have on their all-important concepts of right and wrong, good and evil, normal and depraved?

Dakota Fanning- a child actress and a sorrowful victim of her own success- has been manipulated by heartless adults for their own profit. In doing so, they've defamed her, corrupted her mind and turned her into a virtual weapon against the children of her own generation. When you consider the great and noble legacy she might have had, the tragedy becomes ever greater.

In the final analysis, as I've often said, she's still just one kid among millions. But she's no less important for that. That she IS a kid is enough in itself.

P.S. Most of the rest of your commentary bordered on the hysterical. I'll ignore it so as not to embarass you futher. I assume that you're decent man at heart, M.R., but just overinfluenced, as so many are, by the moral ambiguity of the popular culture.

Dear "Me": More of the same from you. I've answered it all already and see no reason to do so yet again.

Mr. Reasonalbe

I find it amazing how you twist things around to suit your arguments, totally ignoring reality.
And...to accuse \\\\\\\"me\\\\\\\" of the same thing when he/she is just reporting the true FACTS, told by the actual parties involved is totally embarrassing of YOU!

Of course there is a difference between a kid cleaning her room and being on the set of Hound dog, but MY point was how kids CAN, and DO stand up for them selves and rebel at trivial things, let alone the super embarrassing idea of acting out a sex scene.

Your remarks about Dakota being just a kid, as if to say kids are all little automatons that can be persuaded to do almost anything is so off the mark that I think in reality, you don\\\\\\\'t believe your own drivel! Dakota is NOT 5. She was 12, and a very bright, and sophisticated 12 at that. It would take a lot more that persuasion to make her do anything she didn\\\\\\\'t want to do. or..are you now accusing her mom and others of actually threatening her?
Yes, Dakota would want to \\\\\\\"please\\\\\\\" her mom, but only up to a point. If...as you say Dakota could be so easily swayed, to perform simulated, perverse sex acts, that caused great psychological harm, than the damage was already done before Dakota read the script.
Why don\\\\\\\'t you address the examples I and others have cited? You have refrained from commenting on the facts of other child stars in other controversial movies (Jodie,Brooke, and Jena...) WHY..because you have no argument that you can spin to further your premise with those examples. So..as an underhanded debating technique, you change the subject, conveniently ignore any arguments against your \\\\\\\"theory\\\\\\\" that you cannot refute.
I here by challenge you to answer directly, with no spin..why the actresses mentioned above, were NOT as your argument set forth, harmed in any clearly visible way, using their \\\\\\\'post-traumatic\\\\\\\" lives as examples. And..don\\\\\\\'t use the tactic of saying that Jodie, Brooke and Jena are the exception...in fact..using the criteria of ANY child actor you can name (be my guest) Give me ANY example of a child actor, showing demonstrable harm in later life..SOLELY because of acting a scene with SEXUAL content..I am waiting Mr. Chicken!

Steven Mark Pilling

Mr. Reasonable:

The point I'm trying to make here is that you're assuming a great deal about Dakota Fanning and her environment. What is said of her comes from her handlers in a constant drumbeat of publicity. Your children are growing up in a loving home and in an open atmosphere. Not all children are. Certainly not the Fanning sisters.

Every aspect of there lives has been tightly controlled and remains so. Some of it was inevitable, of course, given their celebrity status. But it also compounds the opportunities for abuse when such children are raised in an isolated environment by ambitious, amoral adults. This can happen where big money is envolved. It's an old and bitter story.

Children CAN be inculcated with terrible ideas and attitudes under such conditions. Extreme examples of this were seen in Vietnam and ARE seen today in the Middle East. If children can be led to blow themselves up and kill innocent people (including other children!), is it so fantastic that some can be persuaded to enact sexual situations (or even the real thing, which has occured!) on a film set. Or live?

This is no theory. This is part of a grim, world-wide phenomenon that is now manifesting itself here. "Hounddog" was a tentative vanguard toward closing the gap between the popular culture's sexualization of children and the nauseating sickness of child pornography.

By the way, whoever said that I was ignoring the effects of this on child actors? I've commented extensively on it! Many former child actors have come forth with tales of emotional troubles directly related to exposure (even second-hand!) to scenes of sexuality and graphic violence. Also, the problem of stalkers who become inspired by those films is not a small one.

I know little about Jenna Malone or that particular film that she was in. I DO know about the troubles of many others, Jodie Foster and Brooke Shields included. Others who have commented are Linda Blair, Sarah Polley, Lukas Haas; these off the top of my head. The list of those who weren't exposed to such scenes, but nevertheless endured heavy work schedules and indifferent or exploitative parenting is even longer.

Again; none of this is theory. In fact, it's since become evident that children are even more susceptible to long-term trauma from their filmation experiences than was previously believed.

Nor should it come as a surprise to anyone. It doesn't matter how "smart" or "precocious" a child actor is. Most of them are to begin with, or they wouldn't be successful AS child actors. What matters most is maturity and upbringing. Maturity, however, is biological and is therefore not a factor with children. That's why they're so vulnerable, even when blessed with good parents and responsible agents.

Children in films and television are underprotected. That's one of the great lessons that "Hounddog" has taught us. It's one that needs to be addressed and soon. Likewise is the factor of how such movies (even when edited and "sanitized") will effect the hearts and minds of children who see them- often spurred on by the fact that their favorite child actor (or actress) is in it.

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