The entertainment world saw two major losses yesterday. The first was musician Chris Cornell, frontman for Soundgarden and Audioslave, who was found dead in his hotel room after playing a show in Detroit. He was 52. The second was Roger Ailes, the founder and former chairman of Fox News, who was fired in disgrace last year after countless allegations of sexual harassment. He was 77.
Cornell was a giant of rock and roll, fronting two enormously successful bands and building his own huge solo career over the last 25-30 years. Truth be told, I was never the biggest Soundgarden fan. I liked Louder Than Love and had BadMotorFinger in constant rotation during my first two years of high school, but I checked out after that. I couldn't get into Superunknown or any of its many hit singles. I couldn't really get into any Soundgarden -- or Audioslave, by extension -- after that. But my feelings about Cornell's music do not matter, because I know just what a force he was and how many lives he touched. He was insanely talented, possessing the kind of voice that comes around maybe once in a generation. Watching him perform something like "Jesus Christ Pose" in his youthful, long-haired, early '90s form is the very reason the term "Rock God" was invented.
Roger Ailes leaves a family behind. They are grieving, I'm sure. I will not make light of their loss on a personal level nor mock their pain. But Roger Ailes was also human garbage, a pair of sentient jowls attached to a body filled with hate, racism and misogyny. In creating Fox News, he made America a much worse place, indirectly and/or directly responsible for the second Iraq War, the crippling social/political/class divide in this country and the leadership disaster in which we now find ourselves. He is a man who sold a bullshit view of the world for 20 years and became very, very successful by pitting Americans against one another, stirring up fear and hatred of anyone that isn't a conservative white male. He did this all while bullying, harassing and threatening women who worked at his company and creating a culture that allowed employees like Bill O'Reilly to get away with doing the same for decades. He was human poison, spreading sickness through everything he touched -- in particular through the television, like the assholes at Videodrome giving us all tumors and stomach vaginas so that he can sexually harass us.
Ailes, like Cornell, held on as long as he could. He made it into his 70s. Once his kingdom was taken away and there were no more women to objectify, threaten, intimidate and harass, his body called it quits.
Because the internet makes it all too possible for us to be Roger Ailes every day. We can be mean and spread negativity when someone doesn't like a movie we like or likes a movie we don't. Check the Twitter reactions to any negative review of a DC movie; hell, just check the negative reviews of DC movies themselves (not you, Wonder Woman; I hear you're good!). Shit gets real nasty, and for what? I know we consider ourselves here at F This Movie! to be positive and respectful and I'm very proud of that fact, but I'm not immune to being shitty sometimes. I've been called out for being rude and unwelcoming to anonymous commenters, the suggestion being that people comment anonymously because I'm shitty towards dissenting opinions. I'm not sure it's a totally fair characterization, but I'll take the hit. I'm sure I've been guilty of it in the past, and bringing it to my attention will hopefully make me think twice before I do it again. Even when I'm attacked, I need to remember that attacking back just turns both of us into Roger Ailes. I don't want that. I don't want that for any of us. We need to be better and resist the urge to be shitty, both online and in person. With Ailes gone and Fox News' special brand of toxic rhetoric hopefully collapsing under the weight of its unsustainable hysteria, we need to be part of turning things around.
So that's it. Two men lost, two opposing legacies. I can offer condolences on the loss of both, even if I only feel genuine sadness for the one who created art to make the world a better place. We all have to keep doing the best we can to succeed day by day, which is easier because of all of you who read the site and all of you who write or have written for it: Erika, Doug, JB, Adam Riske, Rob, Mike, Adam Thas, Mark, Heath, Heather, Cass, Erich, Jerry, Alejandra, Anya, Lexy, Melissa, Alex. My friends and my family are all here in once place, and that fact makes these daily successes feel more manageable. Movies help. But someday we won't be here anymore, and what I want for us all is to leave the world better than we found it. We may never create anything as good as "Outshined," but we can at least love and care for one another. And hopefully that someday is a long way off for us all. We just have to hold on for as long as we can.
And this is why Patrick Bromley is one of my favourite critics. You have this way nailing or articulating an idea that I have trouble forming. Chris Cornell hit me more than I would have thought, but his voice was a big part of my life, and I felt his loss. Again you describe that feeling perfectly.ReplyDelete
But Patrick, you have had a huge impact on people. I know you personally you opened the door to genre for me. I would have never watched the likes of Roger Corman, Universal Monsters, modern horror if it wasn't for the writing on this site. And as someone who often finds it difficult to express herself, it has given me a blue print of language to try to explain certain ideas circling around in my head. It is never hate or narkiness but it's an understanding. That is no small thing.
I thought about you yesterday. I don't personally know anyone else who has opened up about being currently sucidal, and the amount of people I know gets less and less. In an internet way but a way that's also sincere, I care about you. When you talked about this on the Goodwill Hunting episode and about Robin Williams and Elliot Smith, I felt...angry at them for making this more real for you and others. I understand I can't change people, they'll always do what they want, and I don't know what they go through, but I still felt that, right or wrong. They made the world a better place in some ways.ReplyDelete
Well said, Patrick. You have written before about "being a better movie watcher" and I think that extends to just being a better, more positive person in general, and more specifically, in internetland where it is so easy to write something without thinking about it. I know personally I have taken what you have said to heart and tried to be more positive in my approach.ReplyDelete
And I think I can speak for everyone on this site that you are charismatic, talented and successful. You touch a lot of people here whether you know it or not. I know you don't like to hear compliments but fuck off, you inspire a lot of positivity and that is a rare quality in human beings these days.
Cornell is pretty big for me, Soundgarden is easily my favorite 90s band and, apologies to the other members, Chris Cornell is Soundgarden. I usually try not to take tragedy personally, but it's makes me So sad to see all my childhood musical idols passing away young. Cornell, Layne Staley, Scott Weiland. But as someone who doesn't suffer from depression, this is what really scares me. He had seemingly everything he could want; a wife, young children, unbelievable career success, and he beat all his addictions. But he couldn't beat his depression. And left in the wake is countless friends and family who would've done anything to help, but just couldn't. I think I'll have to watch Casino Royale tonight to remind myself just how great he was.ReplyDelete
And fuck Roger Ailes. The world is a better place without that narcissistic, anti-Semitic bag of shit.
"I'm not hot or charismatic or talented or successful."ReplyDelete
You have a wonderful wife who I'm SURE would vehemently disagree with this on all counts. I know it's not always easy to see what others see in us, but we need to trust they are honest and accurate in their assessments. To that end, I would also submit that you have had a significant impact on a strong and passionate film community who love your work. I'm with Chaybee on this one. You deserve compliments, and compliments you will get.
In the end, it's all about being as kind and respectful as we can, and putting as much good in the world as we can while we can. This is a representation of two men who were on opposite ends of that spectrum.
Your heart is what makes this site and community what it is. I love you, P.ReplyDelete
Speaking as someone who IS hot, charismatic, talented, and successful, I can tell you that none of those things make life any easier. We all still fight every single day. And Patrick is right — the desire to quit on yourself comes just as quickly and with as little fanfare as the desire to eat a sandwich or look at your phone. And that sucks, honestly. It feels like it should be this big life event or something, but it isn't. Sometimes it feels like relief.ReplyDelete
Depression, mental illness, and suicide are major parts of my life. Family, friends, students, everyone. Me. I am depressed and often think of ways out. There is no answer except self care. Remind yourself every day that you matter and that shame and self-loathing do not define you. Do tiny little things for yourself. Dumb example: I wore the same pair of ratty gym shorts for years, dealing with the paint stains and random holes because I didn't see a new pair of shorts for myself as a worthwhile expenditure. Because I didn't value myself. Yesterday, I bought a new pair. I got up today, put them on, and now I feel a little better. Not good, not great, just better. Better enough to blast Lady Gaga in the car and make a stupid joke on a message board about being hot and charismatic. I won't feel this good in an hour, but maybe I will an hour after that. I might look at this comment through tears tomorrow and roll my eyes about naive I sound. But I have to try. Because when (and if) things get better, they do so in tiny, tiny increments.
I know Patrick doesn't write these pieces so that we can all tell him how great he is and how much we love him, so let's thank him for his candor by forgiving ourselves for the shitty things we've done and taking more pride in the good things we will do today.
Patrick, you are my hero. You are my favorite critic, and you're a great person, too.ReplyDelete
Thanks for writing this. Chris meant something to me, but what affected me most wasn't necessarily his passing but the way it happened. It forced me to think about my own experiences with thoughts like those and it breaks my heart that anyone else has to have them too. I've always told myself that if I could just mean something to ONE person, then life is worth living. You mean something to a lot of people, Patrick, myself included. I really look up to you. It's because of you that I've met so many incredible online pals that remind me how great people can be every day. Thank you for that, and for this wonderful article that helped me feel a little better than yesterday.ReplyDelete
You're a super cool person, Ale! I'm very glad to know you as well! :)Delete
Sending love and strength your way, Patrick.ReplyDelete
I think what you do here is great, Patrick. This is maybe gonna get weirdly specific/personal, but if there's a post for such things, this feels like it. I found your "This is 40" episode oddly inspiring. You bemoaned your lack of success at 40 (at least by your metrics), but I honestly heard all that and thought, "If I could be doing what you're doing by 40, I'd be pretty proud of that." Maybe that's low standards on my part, but as someone who's also suffered from depression for 10+ years, being able to do anything constructive that fosters enthusiasm for something I love would make me happy. And I think the community and discourse you've built here is great. Even on episodes where you hate a movie I enjoyed, I think you (and your co-hosts) are respectful and thoughtful. None of this is to say you shouldn't keep pushing and reaching for further successes, just know that what you do is already valued by many (and I'm still fairly new to the show despite following on Twitter for forever). Anyway, I really enjoyed this and hope you continue to champion movies you love.ReplyDelete
And man I hope none of that comes across as a backhanded compliment because it was intended as anything but that.Delete
If the past six months have taught me nothing else it's that people aren't abstractions to be lumped into categories, but complicated individuals with lives, stories, and feelings. It's not always easy to take the time to listen to strangers, but it's important. Having an online refuge as kind and supportive as the FTM community means everything. There are things to fight for and against in this world (Ailes was the bloated face of many of those evils), but treating people as people and not data points reminds us what we're fighting for. Funny that a pastime that centers around sitting silently in the dark could build such a strong community, but it does. It certainly has here. Thank you for that, Patrick. And thank you for sharing this with us.ReplyDelete
"We all have that ability. We can be kind to someone, or show support for someone. We can let someone know that we are listening and that they matter."ReplyDelete
"..that best portion of a man's life; his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love."
To quote another poet, John Donne, "any [person's] death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind." I sort of agree with that, but I also think the sum total of goodness in the world increased when the universe grabbed its Gom Jabbar and stuck it into Roger Ailes' repulsive flesh before sending him flying into the maws of a giant sandworm, and I'm glad it finally got around to it. The universe is such a dick, though, that it immediately had to restore the balance by taking someone who brought nothing but joy to millions. Fuck you, macrocosm. Red giants suck, and gravity is a weak force. "Weak force, weak force!"
I think I just trolled the universe.
I've contributed to the Fox News commenting section in my time. It's a bit like when you read Youtube posts (never read Youtube posts): you need an Adamantium stomach. If the hatred on display on sites like that could be harnessed and turned into a power source, the energy crisis would be remedied overnight. I tried to bring a bit of rationality and humanity (that sounds egotistical, I know; I can be as irrational as anyone, and I've pretended to be doing something on my phone when I've walked past Big Issue sellers). It's an exercise in futility that would have Sisyphus throwing up his hands and saying, "Oh, come on!"
I'm not one of those who think every person who voted for President Biff Tannen is a moronic, homophobic racist; there are conservatives who live blameless lives filled with love, just as there are liberals who are total arseholes. But I've come reluctantly to the conclusion that those who buy into what the bloviating buffoon with the ridiculous coiffure says and does and continue to support him are just missing something. How can you bear witness to a horrific refugee crisis of your own country's making and say, "Screw you, one out of every ten thousand of you might wish to do me harm, so none of you is coming in"? How can you refer to a fellow human being who has struggled with being born the wrong gender so much that this person has chosen to undergo major surgery as "it"? That is the pronoun of choice on threads having to do with transgender people over at Fox News. How can you... ah, the list is endless.
SJW special snowflake rant over.
Burn in Hades, Rog. Family of Chris Cornell, peace.
Love to everyone at F This Movie... and to the world in general.
Not you, universe. You're still a dick.
All I wish to say is this, Patrick: you DO have that effect on people.ReplyDelete
Much love, man.
I'm not good with mushy stuff, but I just want to say that Patrick (and Doug, JB, Adam and the whole FTM gang) often brighten my day with the articles and podcast. It's not much, but sometimes it's everything. Thank you for that.ReplyDelete
It's columns like this that really make me love Patrick, the podcast, and the entire F This Movie community. I've listened to every episode so far, but I have a feeling that the one on Good Will Hunting will always be my favorite.ReplyDelete
I'm not sure which episode it was, but the one in which Adam Riske recounts the tale of his and Patrick's attending a panel led by Heather Wixson for a new Rob Zombie movie (one of the Halloweens, I think) and it all going to cock is possibly my favourite. Adam is a terrific anecdotalist. I don't know if the guy with the kid who was being such a jerk ever put his footage up on Youtube as he promised.Delete
Suicide Squad episode. I check regularly for the 31 panel but that guy never put it up on YouTube.Delete
31? Jesus, I knew there were a lot of movies in that franchise, but I thought it was reset when Zombie took over. The last one I saw was no. 20 with Josh Hartnett and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.Delete
Blow Up the Outside World! I've been jamming that song for the past month. I heard it on XM Lithium earlier this year, never was a Soundgarden song that I found putting in my playlists, but it's become one of my favorites now. I've been listening to Cornell for a long time and out of all the bands from that era, none of them could match Cornell's powerful voice. Not only powerful but truly unique. I'm sad.ReplyDelete
The recent Fox News revelations have been disgusting, but sadly not surprising. Howard Stern likes to make the 'Bill O'Reilly can't get anyone to fuck him' joke daily now; that's great and all, but this goes beyond sexual harassment. The damage that Ailes and that network have done is practically irreversible. I have family members who swear by that Fox News garbage and watch it nightly. I shake my head at it and try to not let it get to me. What can be done? At this point, we just hope for the best, we hope that the people leading us don't buy into their own bullshit and do anything too stupid. Anyways, great piece, writing always helps when it comes to stress or depression. It's one of the purest forms of expression and I'm glad that you're willing to share your thoughts with us. You're only going to get pure and honest support from me and everyone here who loves you and the site. Thank You!
A few thoughts.ReplyDelete
1. Patrick, buddy, no matter how depressed you get or had bad you feel sometimes just know that we all think you're wonderful and we love you just as you are. This extends to all of my colleagues at F This Movie and my friends in this community (i.e. all of our readers/listeners).
2. I feel very bad for Chris Cornell. I feel just as bad for his family. The part I find the most distressing about suicide is that someone's mind and soul has so much pain inside that they think that act is the response. It's truly heartbreaking. There's a danger in romanticizing depression and suicide (especially when the person is younger, or even more so, famous) but remember it leaves a residue for others that I have to believe wouldn't be the intent of the victim.
3. I've had depression for at least half of my life and the way I came to peace with it took time. I learned to manage it. I used to think it was something I could cure. It's not. It will always be there as much as I am white or male or short. It's a part of me that I didn't ask for but I'm not going to be ashamed of it. I ride it out. I'll take a nap or a walk or listen to a song I love for a quick endorphin rush. I used to exercise a lot. That was a big help.
4. Roger Ailes isn't even worth the words I'm typing. Good riddance. Sometimes people are just evil. I don't want to rationalize them. I just know there's bad out there as much as I know others are intrinsically good. I'm not going to win points in Heaven because I gave a fucking asshole a fair shake so what's the point?
Clarification on no. 4: I'm speaking of "evil" as evidence from a person's choices and character specifically.Delete
I wanted to say something positive since I have a lot of respect for Patrick and what he and the whole F This Movie crew (and community) have created here. I also understand though that he didn't write this in order to get us all to heap praise on him despite how much he truly deserves it so I honestly had no idea how to reply and was pretty much thinking about it all day. The only fitting thing I could come up with was to make donations to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and to the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. I only had limited time to do research on charities and these ones appeared to be good but I just want to be clear for anyone else thinking of donating that I'm not advocating these specific ones as the ones everyone should donate to and I'm not an authority on the subject.ReplyDelete
Beyond that I can only say that if Patrick ever wanted to do a fundraiser for mental health by doing another podcastathon or any other kind of event I'd be more than willing to donate my time to help in any capacity needed, even if it's just to fly to Chicago to help move heavy equipment around or periodically spray water into his mouth.
Beautiful piece Patrick. I agree with Rob that you certainly don't write these articles to be complimented, but you articulate something that many of us can't, don't , or didn't realise needed articulating until reading your writing.ReplyDelete
Cornell's passing hit me hard. I am a big fan of Soundgarden, Audioslave, and an even bigger fan of his solo work and his incredible capacity to reinterpret other musician's songs, which is so evident in the clip above.
In recent times the death of musical icons like Prince and David Bowie was immensely sad, surprising and unexpected. However, there was something otherworldly about these artists that gave them a sense of mystery and mystique. Losing them was like losing a favourite fictional character (and I say that with the utmost respect).
I didn't know Chris Cornell. But the only thing otherworldly about him was his incredible talent and ridiculously unique voice. The man himself seemed grounded, reserved, shy... a family man...working musician; just a normal person who happened to have incredible talent and artistry.
Thank you Patrick for bringing some warmth and understanding to what is otherwise inexplicable, bad sadly so real.
Hey Patrick, I've gone through hell and back, getting separated and then divorced, becoming a single dad of 2, all within the time I started listening to Fthismovie. Do I blame you? No! But listening to the podcast, (apart from educating and informing me on movies) has been a staple for these couple years...you've done way more than you realize. Thanks Patrick and all the fthismovie gang.ReplyDelete
Also, I should point out that suicide attempts much more often than not, don't succeed, leaving the person ruined and a burden on their family (and just fucking up physically). I don't pretend to understand depression, but I'll emphasize that suicide doesn't fucking work in most cases. Nearly everyone that attempts it is still alive, but way more fucked up than before. I really hesitated on writing this...but fuck it, gotta speak the truth.
Whoops...posted using my son's account.ReplyDelete
How appropriate that an avid movie lover would name his son Oscar.Delete
"Daddy, I don't want to be painted gold again this Halloween. Some of the older kids were calling me Shirley Eaton again. I want to be Superman."
"You'll do as you're told."
The most recent episode of The Leftovers dealt with suicide in a very powerful way. For those who haven't been watching, you really should.ReplyDelete