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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Weirding Theater Presents Black Cobra - A Discussion

This weekend, The Weirding Theater Presents Black Cobra. The show starts around 9:30pm CST on Google+ and YouTube.

As much as I hate feeling the need to "defend myself," especially since the prevailing mainstream and countless social media "activists"
(that one guy with 30+ social media profiles - WE SEE YOU, BOB!) are likely to dismiss this as an "excuse" to justify pulling a cheap and tasteless stunt in hopes of drawing more viewers with controversy, this week's film probably deserves some 'splaining:

I love Blacksploitation ( #blaxploitation ) films. Yes, they're invariably tasteless, racist, entirely socially irresponsible, and worse - but, when these movies were released (and don't doubt that #blackspolitation is alive and well today - just turn your dial to BET or rock one of your favorite rap/hip-hop tunes, or just look at the cultural division in America spurred-on continuously by the Al Sharptons and American Media who prey upon these outdated notions of separatism to drive "social movements" on which they profit) they were such huge hits amongst black filmgoers of the time, many hailed them as more accurate to IRL and far more relatable to than the majority of film releases with near all-white casts wrestling with their suburban inner-demons and shit, often without realizing #blaxploitation movies were cynically, and very cheaply, made specifically to pander to poor, disenfranhised, black audiences. And almost always by white producers and crews.

The Weirding is not a porn site and most classic #blacksploitation films can be rough and tasteless, so while you may one day find us riffing a Dolomite or Shaft, don't hold your breath. In short, this film is bound to offend some people and our jokes and insights are determined to do the same.

Black Cobra was made at the tail-end of the Exploitation era so while it's closely-tied to the Blaxploitation movement, it's likely going to try to downplay those connections by presenting cardboard characters designed to be "Black [Anti] -heroes" - cops who don't play by the rules in order to "Fight the Power," ne'er do-wells who are forced into lives of crime and/or rise to some level of fame/success by not obeying "The Man," oppressed brothers who "snap" and take matters into their own hands, and all that shit.
This will all then be justified as "beating the system unfairly stacked against them," when the entire production team is actually just making a paycheck by (sometimes) selling-out their own race and culture.

We'll be dropping some knowledge during the flick but we're 99% certain to make rather offensive and/or taboo comments as well, some of which will definitely include allusions to both negative and positive stereotypes and even employ The N-Word (and maybe far, far worse). But, we promise to do so in our Black Voice and that's not "racist." We cannot promise not to do it in Blackface because, Goddammit, we're artists.

Which brings me to my final point: Few people bring-up Blacksploitation anymore, which was probably the single most important sub-genre within the Exploitation movement, and I think it fair to assume the most lucrative, yet we honestly debated doing this for weeks beforehand for what I feel is a valid reason:

Blacksploitation cinema is probably the single most well-known sub-genre of the Exploitation film movement and not only deserves its place in American cinema history but also on our little Internet show. After some internal struggle, I concluded it more racist not to include at least some examples of it; this was no justification but a dilemma with which I wrestled for a couple of months. Maybe that's just me and I know a lot of people on every side will shit all over me by suggesting I'm lying or just too dense to truly "appreciate" The Struggle and shit but this isn't a stunt. With exceptions, a lot of the movies we do are controversial and, just as in this case, they're often picked largely at-random from suggested videos within the Exploitation sub-genre, which is defined as being controversial in nature.

The main reason this is likely to upset some viewers is due to the language we use and the fact that we're white people making off-color jokes (get it!?) regarding 40+-year-old movies that rarely saw the light of day in their day and now lay mostly forgotten. Blacksploitation flicks - all Exploitation flicks - were movies that intentionally exploited racial, gender, religious, social, and political tensions of the time just to put meat in the seats. They were specifically produced, marketed, and distributed to the lowest-common denominator to cultivate controversy with the express purpose of making money and none of them have any higher purpose. With almost zero exceptions, they lay somewhere between hardcore pornography and obscenity (from a social standpoint, not legal).

And Frankly, we don't give a shit.

If it offends you that much though, you're in luck: You do not have to watch it; there are several million other websites to view and events you could be attending instead, not to mention music, TV, radio, books, and getting a fucking hobby you are bound to suck at and abandon a few hours in. Most of the tropes involved in this flick are bound to be outdated and were included by white people. Furthermore, being a successful black actor (especially in those days) was far more difficult than the Starbucks crowd could ever imagine, so even if many of them considered these films beneath them as a man or actor, they took the job in hopes of building a career in some fashion - or at least being able to pay the Dopemain. They may not been in on "The Joke" but they weren't booked by Jim South so, despite whatever regrets they may have felt later in life, many of them managed to pay their bills (thought probably not on time).

Besides, we just did a #Rapesloitation flick like two weeks ago and if you are belaboring under the notion that those Hercules flicks aren't aimed at homosexuals, you don't need to be viewing our show in the first place. Because it was the 1970s, Goddammit! That's when the Exploitation genre came into it own, what most '70s movies were all about, and something we really enjoy mocking (though not always watching).

We don't pander to "controversy;" we absolutely love bad movies and '70s Exploitation flicks tend to be the best to riff. All that said, there are two more sequels in this franchise we've backburnered just in case things don't go over well, but not with the overly-moralistic hand-wringing goodwives and burghers of the village; stuff like this often makes us uncomfortable, too, and we know we have some fairly-loyal viewers who are just as depraved as we are. These people, ourselves included, is why we do this shit - not to instigate trouble, agitate people with strong convictions, or stir-up controversy.

The Weirding Theater Presents Black Cobra LIVE this Saturday around 9:30pm CST. Please keep in mind that this a LIVE, unedited broadcast made by unprofessional (hell, not even rank) "comedians" and filmbuffs who have never seen the movie.

© The Weirding, 2014

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