Steven Zeitchik at the LATimes goes to great lengths to break this foolishness down, set the facts straight, ridicule the idiots who started it, and respect the director by giving Innaritu a platform where he can weigh in. It’s a whole lot of explanation for something that really doesn’t even deserve the dignity of a response. But while we’re at it, I’ll throw my own opinion into the mix.
Drudge, scum that he is, posted this spurious headline knowing full well it was a lie. He did it for the same transparent reasons he does everything: to drum up ignorant clicks to his ignorant site, and to take every opportunity to cook up muddy falsehoods about anyone and anything associated with progressive causes. So the only thing that puzzles me about any of this is why more people are not figuring that out. It’s so obvious. So simple. So typical. Even someone like Jeff Wells, who’s ordinarily happy to speculate about the motivations of people he doesn’t know, almost respectfully headlines his own weak sauce by saying “Drudge Hangs Tough” — as if Drudge is valiantly standing up for the right to print the latest absurd thing he heard.
I have my own amateur psychologist theory, I’ll get to that in a minute, but let’s first look at how the LATimes is handling it:
It’s the most head-shaking story to hit the Internet this week, and this has been a week that included Aaron Rodgers’ Hail Mary: How exactly did people come to believe Leonardo DiCaprio’s character was raped by a bear in his new movie, “The Revenant”?
If such traction is mystifying to us regular folk, it’s equally bizarre to Alejandro Inarritu. Which is notable, as he’s the director of “The Revenant.”
“It’s almost a ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit. It’s fantastic,” the director said in an interview this week shortly after the story gained momentum.
Inarritu, who is known to reporters for being savvy about the media, was (mostly) laughing even as he offered a larger media critique.
“I find it hilarious, and pathetic in a way. You have one guy in a garage inventing something that’s then shared by somebody else. And then a newspaper acknowledges it as news, and then it triggers papers around the world,” said the Mexican-born director, who won an Oscar last year for “Birdman.” “What’s unbelievable is the validation. When I first saw it I thought it was a joke. But then it gets validation, and the studio actually has to release a statement that there was no bear rape. It’s like a crazy mad comedy.”
I like Innaritu, and if Zeitchik wants to say the director is “savvy about the media,” fine by me. But it doesn’t sound too savvy to refer to the lousy Drudge Report as “newspaper,” and it’s strange to believe that anyone in their right mind has given this thing any “validation.” 150,000 RTs is not validation. It’s just 150,000 goofballs on twitter with twitchy hair-trigger fingertips. Back to Zeitchik, who does a fine job tracing this shit to its source.
The story began with a column about the late December release, a 19th-century drama centering on DiCaprio’s fur trapper Hugh Glass after he’s savagely attacked by a bear. The animal seems to be protecting her cubs and wants to hurt Glass, but that’s about it. Yet the entertainment columnist Roger Friedman, in describing the movie, noted “that the bear flips Glass over on his belly and molests him – dry humps him actually – as he nearly devours him.”
It’s unclear to what extent Friedman meant to suggest a sexual assault. He does seem to think the above is a positive, praising the scene. In any event, it soon morphed into this on the Drudge Report.
“DICAPRIO RAPED BY BEAR IN FOX MOVIE”
“The new movie ‘Revenant’ features a shocking scene of a wild bear raping Leo DiCaprio! The explicit moment from Oscar winning director Alejandro Inarritu has caused maximum controversy in early screenings. Some in the audience escaped to the exits when the Wolf of Wall Street met the Grizzly of Yellowstone.”
Also, “He is raped — twice!”
That’s the entirety of the story, and I can’t see how anybody took it seriously for an instant.
All it is, is this: Conservatives don’t like DiCaprio. They don’t like Mexicans. They want this movie to be a mess. And since it’s not — since it’s probably a masterpiece — they just invent a deceptive mess to smear on it. Funnily enough, they forget the first rule of publicity: All publicity is good. Millions of people have now heard about this movie who never would have without Drudge. Not only that, anyone who thinks a Republican is going to avoid a movie where they might get to see a liberal movie star get raped by a furry creature doesn’t know much about the secret fantasies of a lot of Republicans. All this has done is churn traffic for Drudge (ugh) and put The Revenant on the radar of millions of people (yay).
You can read the rest of Zeitchik’s dutiful analysis at the LATimes. Because I can’t excerpt the whole silly thing.
Just this though:
(I’ve seen the film. It’s a visceral mauling. it’s obviously not sexual, and I, like writers at many outlets and Inarritu himself, thought this was a put-on when I first read it.)
The director was still puzzling out how it happened. “I don’t know who this guy is. I guess he has five minutes of fame now.”
My own theory of where this came from and why? Petty GOP revenge leading to dumb lies that only the dumbest of GOP voters would take seriously. I tweeted this a couple of days ago:
Feeding the fears of the dumbest of the dumb by putting and “Rapists” and “Mexicans” in the same story? Who’s that sound like?