Is Hollywood to blame? Or journalism? A battle on Twitter

The Washington Post

The day after Elliot Rodger shot six people, wounded 13 others and then killed himself in Santa Barbara, California, The Washington Post’s senior film critic Ann Hornaday wrote a column about the impact Hollywood and movie culture may have had about his misogynistic YouTube manifesto.

How many men, raised on a steady diet of Judd Apatow comedies in which the shlubby arrested adolescent always gets the girl, find that those happy endings constantly elude them and conclude, “It’s not fair”?

Movies may not reflect reality, but they powerfully condition what we desire, expect and feel we deserve from it. The myths that movies have been selling us become even more palpable at a time when spectators become their own auteurs and stars on YouTube, Instagram and Vine. If our cinematic grammar is one of violence, sexual conquest and macho swagger — thanks to male studio executives who green-light projects according to their own pathetic predilections — no one should be surprised when those impulses take luridly literal form in the culture at large.

On Tuesday afternoon, Hornaday released a video explaining why she wrote the column.

“In singling out ‘Neighbors’ and Judd Apatow, I by no means meant to cast blame on those movies or Judd Apatow’s work for this heinous action, obviously not,” Hornaday said in her video. “But I do think, again, it bears all of us asking what the costs are of having such a narrow range of stories that we constantly go back to.”

Previously, people pushed back at Hornaday on Twitter. But they did the same with actor Seth Rogen, who tweeted to Hornaday after her column was published. (Director Judd Apatow also tweeted to Hornaday. His followers mostly agreed with him.)

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  • AramZS

    This isn’t really a useful post, is it? You’re highlighting a bunch of things others said, some pretty nasty and some who would have had no platform if you hadn’t selected them for inclusion. And the headline makes no sense. No one is even implying journalism is to blame for the things that Hornaday is talking about. If you are, then there needs to be a lot more context. If you are not, than that headline is pretty misleading.

  • JTFloore

    it is worth noting that there is no indication that the shooter ever saw an apatow/rogen movie or even anything resembling one. further, millions have, but there have not been millions of shooters. in fact, there likely has not been even one person so influenced. hence, ms. hornaday’s thesis is invalid. some nuts are just wired unlike most everyone else.