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  1. #101  
    If you find the sight of a 12 year old girl butchering thugs Kill Bill style while the Banana Splits song plays in the background appealing OR a jet pack with dual shoulder mounted gatling guns raining down justice while Elvis belts out Glory, glory hallelujah somehow satisfying, then may I suggest the movie KICK A**!



    Last edited by daThomas; 04/17/2010 at 01:57 PM.
  2.    #102  
    ... is a chickflick.

    It’s a film that mostly left me cold -- with a story that plays out in way that could mostly be predicted within the movie's first ten minutes.

    Though its cast is attractive and fairly functional, the only really heartfelt performance comes from Vanessa Redgrave -- the aged distinguished actress who portrays a 70ish Englishwomen searching for the lost lover from her youth.

    Hers is an odyssey inspired by Amanda Seyfried -- an american woman who comes to participate in the answering of lovelorn letters left on a wall in Turan Italy for Shakesphere’s Juliet (of Romeo & Juliet fame).

    Seyfried had come to Italy with her restauranteur fiancé for what she expected to be a romantic pre-honeymoon. Neglected by her distracted fiancé, Seyfried instead joins Redgrave and her adult grandson in their quest for Redgrave’s long lost love.

    Predictably Redgrave in the end finds her former love -- and its too long delayed happiness -- while Seyfried (inevitably of course), ends things with her fiancé and finds love with the ornery but actually romantic, grandson.

    Seyfried is BTW, a very pretty girl. But though decent as an actress, I don’t really feel her agonizing, her hurt. I’ve only I think seen her in Mama Mia (with the regrettable Pierce Brosnan) and a couple of times on HBO’s Big Love. But at least for me, there seems no there, there. No depth. She is no Keira Knightly, no Natalie Portman. I doubt her career will last very long.


    On a 0-100 scale, I'd give it a: 64


    Last edited by BARYE; 06/23/2010 at 05:42 AM.
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  3. #103  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    ... is a chickflick.

    It’s a film that mostly left me cold -- with a story that plays out in way that could mostly be predicted within the movie's first ten minutes.

    Though its cast is attractive and fairly functional, the only really heartfelt performance comes from Vanessa Redgrave -- the aged distinguished actress who portrays a 70ish Englishwomen searching for the lost lover from her youth.

    Hers is an odyssey inspired by Amanda Seyfried -- an american woman who comes to participate in the answering of lovelorn letters left on a wall in Turan Italy for Shakesphere’s Juliet (of Romeo & Juliet fame).
    The title itself is a dead giveaway for chickflick. My home commander wants to watch it, thanks for the review. Anyway, what were you wishing the movie would have more in it?
  4.    #104  
    Quote Originally Posted by ronbo2000 View Post
    The title itself is a dead giveaway for chickflick. My home commander wants to watch it, thanks for the review. Anyway, what were you wishing the movie would have more in it?
    its not chickflix per se that I rail against. Most every film I’ve written about recently has been a chickflix of some kind or another.

    Remember Me, The Runaways, The Greatest, Letters to Juliet, The Joneses -- they have all been films primarily targeted to a female audience.

    I loved Remember Me -- I very much liked The Runaways. I was amused by The Joneses.

    What I cannot accept is paint by numbers colouring book writing -- inorganic narrative manipulation, and empty headed phoney acting.

    Embarrassingly, I wept at Remember Me -- I empathized completely with the characters, its story.

    I laughed, I struggled, I winced along with Cherie Curie and Joan Jett in The Runaways.

    When I believe a story I can immerse myself within and become a participant of it -- the screen disappears and I become Robert Paterson of Remember Me, James McAvoy, Keira Knightly of Atonement.

    Letters To Juliet is an ersatz love tale -- a contrived artificially constructed formulaic story largely performed by pretty manikins.

    Though I am not especially a fan of 50's era Brando and Dean, they were among the actors who began to re-understand how one should act for the camera. Perfection is the enemy of realism. Allowing actors to make mistakes, to think -- to remember -- these are things that allow writing to find life beyond the page.

    I never felt those things from Amanda Seyfried, her fiancé, or the grandson in Letters To Juliet.

    BARYE as everyone knows, has been around a long while. Long enough to have seen cinema from its birth in Edison’s invention factory (though not by Edison), through to gadzillion dollar 3d effect laden movies like Avatar.

    Whether I’m watching a movie on my phone or a gargantuan Imax screen I must be absorbed by the story, its characters -- to care -- to feel what they feel.

    Brothers -- a film many liked -- lost me the moment the story lost its internal credibility, when it manipulated events to suit its manipulative plot line.

    I am not perhaps, a representative audience for films -- I have seen too many, I am not as patient or naive or inexperienced as some film goers.

    In school I once heard a story of an instructional hygiene movie being shown to Amazonian “savages”, telling them the importance of wearing shoes. It was the first time they had been shown a movie. The next week they returned to proudly show the floating spirit god of the silver screen, their shoes.

    Sadly, I have long ago lost that naive acceptance of everything the screen god tells me.

    I enjoy films -- actions sci-fi films like Total Recall, or the Terminator movies, off beat comedies like Wristcutters, brilliant psycho- political dramas like The Conformist, or documentaries like Sherman’s March and Man on Wire.

    Films can take any form, any structure, use any technology -- but they must respect me as a knowing viewer. They must involve me.

    As in life, I can’t accept dishonesty, manipulation, or deceit in the people I know, or the films I see.
    Last edited by BARYE; 04/21/2010 at 05:10 PM.
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  5.    #105  
    ...was entertaining -- in an empty calorie Mountain Dew Slurpee sort of way. My head sometimes hurt from its nonsensical plot, but I unwillingly got carried along despite my very jaundiced eye.

    The Plot:

    Group of super secret american commandos go on a super secret mission and get betrayed by their super secret CIA master, and who then tries to kill them. The commandos then (surprise surprise) -- plot their revenge.

    A group of appealing character actors make up the commandos. Later Zoe Saldana becomes an adjunct to their team. Collectively they make this movie more than bearable.

    Playing a stylish, smooth and confident killer, Zoe Saldana has a wonderful screen presence. I saw and liked her previously in “Star Trek” (Uhura) -- and (kind of) saw her in “Avatar”. In “The Losers” she gives a comic book character a semblance of life, believability, and charisma that likely would have been absent had it been played by someone else. Its very much an Angelina Jolie role -- but one that Saldana’s distinct ethnicity and attitude brings added texture to. The chemistry between her and lead commando Jeffrey Dean Morgan is also fun to watch and not over played.

    I am not in general a fan of “Comic Book-Graphic Novel” cinema -- the genre of films that include Batman, Iron Man, Sin City, 300, Spider-man, etc., etc. “The Losers” is very much in that mold. The popularity of “Graphic Novel” source material for screenplays has in recent years overtaken Hollywood like Kudzu weeds. It’s a trend I suspect has origins in both Asian gangster film, and Bollywood.

    Though a great director like Quentin Tarantino has taken take inspiration from that oeuvre to make brilliant action genre films like “Pulp Fiction” and the “Kill Bills”, the overall effect of this trend is a dumbing down of american movies.

    Sadly, it’s a trend replicated in american political discourse and politics as well.

    On a 0-100 scale, I'd give it a: 70


    Last edited by BARYE; 04/21/2010 at 05:06 PM.
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  6.    #106  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post

    ... I was glad even more though, that “The Cove” won for best documentary.

    “The Cove” is a sometimes painful to watch film on the senseless slaughter of dolphins by Japanese fisherman. It is not nearly as well made or important as “The Most Dangerous Man in America”, but it’s a movie which could have a much more immediate impact if it is given wide distribution in Japan.

    Until now the Japanese have mostly succeeded in suppressing the viewing of “The Cove”, something that the Oscar's notoriety will make more difficult...
    Despite having won an Oscar for best documentary, "The Cove" -- the movie that portrays the ghastly slaughter of dolphins by Japanese fishermen -- has not been able to secure a theatre in Japan in which it could be shown.

    It turns out that the small and nutty Japanese right wing -- their version of our Teabagggers -- have successfully shouted down and intimidated anyone that has shown an interest in presenting this important film. (it sort of reminds me of our health care "town meetings".


    Japan’s Far Right Blocks Screenings of ‘The Cove’
    By HIROKO TABUCHI NY Times
    June 18, 2010

    YOKOHAMA, Japan — “The Cove,” an Oscar-winning documentary about dolphin hunting in Japan, would seem to be a natural fit for movie theaters here, but so far the distributor has yet to find a single one that will screen the film...

    ...noisy rallies, online slanders, intimidating phone calls and veiled threats of violence are frightening theaters into canceling showings of “The Cove,” which not only depicts dolphin hunting in an unflattering light but also warns of high levels of mercury in fish, a disturbing disclosure in this seafood-loving nation.

    It is a stark example as well of how public debate on topics deemed delicate here can be easily muffled by a small minority, the most vocal of whom are the country’s estimated 10,000 rightists...

    Other areas that have been effectively made taboo by the right wing include Japan’s royal family, rights for ethnic minorities, Tokyo’s occupation of parts of Asia in the last century, the nation’s role in World War II and organized crime groups, many of which have close links with the far right. ...

    “The Cove” features scenes, many of them filmed surreptitiously, of dolphin hunts in the village of Taiji, southwest of Tokyo. A group of activists led by Ric O’Barry, who trained dolphins for the television series “Flipper,” witness the violent hunts in a secluded lagoon, where fishermen corral dolphins, select a few to capture alive and use harpoons to stab the rest to death, turning the inlet crimson with their blood. ...

    Commercial whaling has been outlawed worldwide since the mid-1980s, but the ban does not cover smaller marine mammals like dolphins. Japan kills about 13,000 dolphins a year...

    ...Many Japanese are unaware that dolphin hunts take place here...

    ...three theaters canceled runs of the film in early June after Mr. Nishimura’s group warned on its Web site that it would stage demonstrations outside two theaters in central Tokyo. Twenty-three others are still mulling whether to show the film. Not one is currently screening it.

    ...the manager at Yokohama New Theater, said he was postponing screenings of the film. “Of course it upsets me,” he said, “but I must consider the trouble it would bring to my neighbors.” ...

    ...organizers now fear that there will be no run at all. ...

    ...said Tamaki Iijima, a 53-year-old homemaker from Saitama, west of Tokyo: “We live in a society that hides away the dirty things. To know is a big first step.”


    Last edited by BARYE; 06/18/2010 at 10:49 PM.
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  7. groovy's Avatar
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    #107  
    Just curious, what makes them "rightists"?
  8.    #108  
    Quote Originally Posted by groovy View Post
    Just curious, what makes them "rightists"?
    as the article says: "areas that have been effectively made taboo by the right wing include Japan’s royal family, rights for ethnic minorities, Tokyo’s occupation of parts of Asia in the last century, the nation’s role in World War II, and organized crime groups (Yakuza), many of which have close links with the far right".

    They define themselves as ultra-conservatives -- as upholders of national values and traditions. They are angrily (and violently) willing to impose their views on any that dare disagree with them.

    They threaten loud and potentially violent demonstrations against any theatre that dares to exhibit "The Cove" for instance -- because the film is an indictment of what they see as a "traditional" custom.

    These Japanese conservatives see themselves as traditionalists -- as in effect fundamentalists.

    Similar to the relatively small "fundamentalist" groups in other nations like Iran, Israel, Turkey, Pakistan, the U.S. -- these groups shamelessly use intimidation to coerce into silence those with whom they differ.

    In Japan as in all these other places, their influence and impact is far beyond their raw number of adherents.
    Last edited by BARYE; 06/19/2010 at 01:40 AM.
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  9. groovy's Avatar
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    #109  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    Similar to the relatively small "fundamentalist" groups in other nations like Iran, Israel, Turkey, Pakistan, the U.S. -- these groups shamelessly use intimidation to coerce into silence those those whom they differ.
    ^^This is why I asked. Not that I'm accusing the inimitable BARYE of ulterior motives; I just wanted to be clear.
  10.    #110  
    is a wild and wonderful rumination on street art -- and of the idea of "art" itself.

    The film is half the product of a mad "***** savant" who obsessively videotaped every scintilla of his life, and the brilliantly inventive and consciously mysterious artist known as "Banksy".

    Theirry Guetta, the "***** savant", is a Frenchman who was selling clothes in LA when he by chance comes upon the nascent "street art" movement through his cousin, an artist known as "Space Invader" (for the images from the game he plasters on walls around the world.)

    From obsessively filming the minutiae of his own life, Guetta pivots to obsessively observe and participate in the subversive underground subculture of street art. He uniquely was granted access and trust by these secretive artists.

    Everything they did, and anywhere they did it, gets documented by Guetta.

    Through serendipity he eventually meets and befriends the greatest and most secretive street artist of them all -- the English artist known as Banksy.

    Banksy's wildly satiric and ironic art is scattered and stenciled across London and the world. Intended originally to be as disposable as graffiti, his art has now become recognized internationally by collectors who routinely pay 100s of thousands for his work.

    Realizing what by happenstance Guetta had captured, Banksy and the other street artists insist that Guetta produce a movie from the videos that documented their exploits and movement.

    Though Guetta had shot thousands of hours of footage, he was no filmmaker -- nor had he even viewed the hours and hours of footage filling storage crates in his home.

    Ultimately what Guetta (in collaboration with an editor) produces, is a brilliant kaleidoscopic acid trip of a video -- one that uses the images of the street artists as merely the props and elements of his crazed imagistic montage.

    Banksy HATES it. He thinks Guetta is insane.

    Wanting to get hold of Guetta's footage, Banksy sardonically tells Guetta that he, Guetta, should now be making street art, and that Guetta needs to return to LA to become an artist.

    Guetta who worships Banksy, absorbs his mentor's mocking instruction as though it was a command from God.

    Back in LA Guetta maniacally imitates and recreates the forms and images he's seen other street artists employ. He hires craftspeople and artists to manufacture his derivative "art". Practically overnight he transforms himself into a hot property in LA, and starts calling himself “Mr. Brainwash” (MBW).

    Though knowing next to nothing about putting on a studio show, Guetta rents a gigantic LA space, mortgages his life to the max, and plans to showcase his art.

    Just as it seems that everything is on the brink of falling apart, Guetta asks his friend Banksy for a promotional quote ("Mr. Brainwash is a force of nature; he's a phenomenon. And I don't mean that in a good way" ) and help from people Banksy knows to produce the show.

    LA Weekly picks up Banksy's "endorsement", and writes an enthusiastic profile of this new artist on the scene, and his upcoming show.

    Much to the amusement and horror of Banksy and the other street artists who'd invested years in their art, Guetta's Mr. Brainwash show is wildly successful.

    The movie that’s ultimately synthesized from Guetta’s footage is ironically as much about him the OCD inspired folk artist -- as it is about the street artists and their movement. Its become an almost unconscious contemplation of what it is to be an artist, what is art.

    Like Banksy, the exceptionally brilliant and beautiful friend with whom I watched “Exit Through the Gift Shop” thought Guetta a nut, and his success a fluke and a parodization of the stupidity of modern society and culture.

    I’m not so sure -- I don’t know what really distinguishes the passion and need to express themselves of a folk artist like Grandma Moses, and the brilliance of a Banksy. They are both driven by spiritual forces beyond their power to articulate.

    We as an audience finally decide what is inspiring and valuable -- and what's derivative, artificial, or boring.

    Art is in the end as much about the observer as it is about its creator.

    But being an artist is also as much about having an idiosyncratic point of view, as it is about what gets produced.

    “Exit Through the Gift Shop” is well worth seeing.

    On a 0-100 scale, I'd give it an: 81

    Last edited by BARYE; 06/20/2010 at 05:09 PM.
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  11. #111  


    Pretty good. I needed more closure on the ending but the wife found it to be perfect.

    Will rate it 4 out of 5 stars.
  12.    #112  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    Despite having won an Oscar for best documentary, "The Cove" -- the movie that portrays the ghastly slaughter of dolphins by Japanese fishermen -- has not been able to secure a theatre in Japan in which it could be shown.

    It turns out that the small and nutty Japanese right wing -- their version of our Teabagggers -- have successfully shouted down and intimidated anyone that has shown an interest in presenting this important film. (it sort of reminds me of our health care "town meetings".
    Refreshingly, and with some surprise -- the Japanese distributor announced today that there will be at least some modest screening of "The Cove" in Japanese theatres.

    Six theatres now, and perhaps another 16 later (if the right wing does not too much object). Its a good start, and far better than none at all.

    Hopefully when confronted with the images of these dolphin slaughters, internal pressure -- especially from school children -- will eventually lead to its ban.


    'The Cove' to screen in Japan despite protests
    By JAY ALABASTER, Associated Press Mon Jun 21, 2010

    TOKYO – "The Cove," an Oscar-winning film about a dolphin-hunting village in Japan, will be shown in the country from next month, despite pressure from nationalist groups that caused several theaters to cancel screenings.

    ...six theaters around the country will start showing the movie July 3, with 16 more to show it later.

    Initial screenings of the film at three other theaters were canceled early this month after protests by nationalist groups, who say the film is anti-Japanese, distorts the truth, and has deep connections with a militant anti-whaling organization.

    The issue erupted into a broad debate on freedom of speech after those theaters pulled out to avoid disruptive protests on their doorsteps. National newspapers widely condemned the cancellations in editorials, and prominent film makers, journalists and lawyers publicly urged theaters not to back down...

    Japanese nationalist groups, known for blasting slogans from truck convoys and handheld loudspeakers, often use the threat of protests as leverage. Several such protests were held in front of Unplugged's offices in Tokyo, and twice outside Kato's home, he said...

    "The Cove," which won the Oscar for best documentary, stars Ric O'Barry, a former trainer for the "Flipper" TV show that is now a dolphin activist. It documents how a group of filmmakers use hidden cameras to capture bloody footage of a dolphin slaughter in a small fishing village....
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  13. Micael's Avatar
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    #113  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    Similar to the relatively small "fundamentalist" groups in other nations like Iran, Israel, Turkey, Pakistan, the U.S. -- these groups shamelessly use intimidation to coerce into silence those with whom they differ.
    Kinda like PETA? Or ELF?
    The Law of Logical Argument: Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
  14.    #114  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    Similar to the relatively small "fundamentalist" groups in other nations like Iran, Israel, Turkey, Pakistan, the U.S. -- these groups shamelessly use intimidation to coerce into silence those with whom they differ.
    Quote Originally Posted by Micael View Post
    Kinda like PETA? Or ELF?

    (jeez ... BARYE writes this long turgid essay on the nature of art, and all anyone wants to talk about is ... )

    BARYE's renowned intellectual honesty requires that he concede that your point is not crazy or unreasonable, though it is somewhat unfair.

    Those groups almost always employ their actions against property not people -- and instead of using intimidation to suppress freedom of thought and free expression, they are attempting to protect the vulnerable from exploitation and destruction.

    Had they been capable, I'm sure many of these groups would have tried to protest the mindless deep sea drilling in the Gulf, long before this tragedy that they have long feared and expected.

    Do you concede the essential congruency of the "small "fundamentalist" groups in nations like Iran, Israel, Turkey, Pakistan, the U.S. -- groups that shamelessly use intimidation to coerce into silence those with whom they differ" ??

    (to be specific, I'm talking about fundamental islamic groups in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Algeria; Ultra Orthodox Jewish groups in Israel; and fundamentalist Christians and teabagggers in the US)
    Last edited by BARYE; 06/22/2010 at 01:34 PM.
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  15. Micael's Avatar
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    #115  
    Quote Originally Posted by daThomas View Post
    Pretty good. I needed more closure on the ending but the wife found it to be perfect.

    Will rate it 4 out of 5 stars.
    I've liked Jeff since I saw him in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.
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    #116  
    I'm waiting for Tron Legacy... can it match Tron?
  17.    #117  
    ... is small slightly offbeat but often achingly real love story between a divorced, lonely, and depressed John C. Reilly -- and a kind attractive woman (Marisa Tomei) with a difficult and somewhat looney and immature adult son (Jonah Hill).

    Its charming and sometimes funny -- but rarely guffaw level funny -- and in truth it never really tries for that.

    One of its core conceits is how it treats the relationship between Reilly and his former wife -- a pair who continue to be such devoted friends that they are almost like brother and sister -- a dynamic that I suspect happens more than is generally acknowledged among former couples.

    "Cyrus" is a film curiously written and directed by two brothers: Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass -- the third brother co-directing pairing that I know of.

    A not too painful chick flick -- and a decent date movie as well.

    On a 0-100 scale, I'd give it a: 71


    Last edited by BARYE; 06/23/2010 at 07:37 PM.
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  18.    #118  
    ...seemed like a potentially provocative and interesting story for a film.

    Based apparently on true events, the story takes place in the mid 70's at what is supposed to be the first legal brothel in Reno Nevada. Run together by a married and aging yin yang of a couple (Mirren and Pesci), their brothel is both home and family for them.

    Directed by Taylor Hackford (responsible for the excellent “An Officer and a Gentleman”), and starring Helen Mirren, Joe Pesci, and the beautiful Bai Ling -- my expectations were high.

    Their troubles begin when Mirren learns she’s dying of cancer, at the same time an unaware Pesci invests in the career of a broken down Argentine heavy weight prize fighter.

    Pesci had long had affairs with the girls of their “ranch” -- something Mirren knew about and tolerated. But Mirren’s sense of vulnerability inspires her to look upon her own happiness and fulfillment.

    Against the backdrop of what might have been a colorful and arousing setting of a brothel, “Love Ranch” manages to be both prosaic and seldom surprising. The movie has almost no sexual energy, no sensuality, no real intimacy.

    And though it may have been true, I never really buy into the affair that Mirren has, a critical problem since its at the core of the film.

    (I was also disappointed and puzzled by the near “extra” role played by Bai Ling -- an excellent beautiful actress whose name is featured in the credits, but who has almost no speaking part.)

    “Love Ranch” is a disappointment -- a waste of a good director, an interesting cast, and a potentially intriguing story.

    On a 0-100 scale, I'd give it a: 69


    Last edited by BARYE; 06/23/2010 at 08:36 PM.
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  19. #119  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    Those groups almost always employ their actions against property not people -- and instead of using intimidation to suppress freedom of thought and free expression, they are attempting to protect the vulnerable from exploitation and destruction.
    And I suppose these are just the actions of misguided youth.

    Brake lines to UCSC researcher's car cut; FBI investigating - San Jose Mercury News
    4 seized in protests of alleged animal abuse

  20.    #120  
    Quote Originally Posted by hrminer92 View Post
    Its germane to talk both about objectives as well as methods when discussing protesters.

    Without speaking about the specifics of the case you site, I'm fairly sure there have not been many instances where groups like PETA or ELF have caused grievous harm to people. (Ted Kaczynski acted alone -- and almost no one supports his deeds.) These groups are, as I said, attempting to protect the vulnerable from exploitation and destruction.

    The other groups mentioned in my original post, in contrast, want to deny freedom and the rights of self expression to those they disagree. They feel free to shout down and physically cower into submission their adversaries. They are also more than willing to employ violence against their opponents to achieve their objectives.

    In Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan fundamentalist moslems routinely maim and kill women whom they regard as impure and not adhering to the precepts of their religion (as they interpret it). This horrific behavior has been urged on and rationalized by their preachers and religious leaders.

    Similarly, in america for example -- there are anti-abortion nuts who have repeatedly attacked, maimed, and killed those they disagree with. And the leaders and thinkers behind the anti-abortion movement will often rationalize, justify, and advocate for that violence -- instead of denouncing absolutely violence as a tool of communication.

    There are a surfeit of right wing militias in america that openly advocate for violence.

    The left is not entirely perfect or pure -- but the right -- whether it be in Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, or america -- is almost always more aggressively anti-free expression -- and much likely to use violence against people as a means to their ends.
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