The things black pills do.

The things black pills do.

I haven’t decided what’s more ironic about Silenced – the fact that a documentary about a supposedly “silenced” group of mostly right-leaning thought leaders is still allowed a theatrical release, or the fact that most of the oppressed white dudes that feature in said movie are kind of notorious for never shutting up. If its title was correct, I suspect we wouldn’t even know all these individuals (a more fair term since not all of them are white guys) with their own respective hot takes on feminism and why mild criticism is somehow a threat to their freedom of speech even existed.

Milo Yiannopoulos in 'Silenced'. Or was it 'Eraserhead'?

Milo Yiannopoulos in ‘Silenced’. Or was it ‘Eraserhead’?

The most important one in this instance is executive producer Mike Cernovich – an immensely masculine American writer (who makes typos “on purpose”) and debunker of all things false who is known to accuse you of simply being afraid of the truth if you dare argue that his writing is often untrue and grounded in whiny right-wing bias. That is, if he actually musters the energy to pronounce all those syllables and doesn’t just lisp exasperatedly about what a liberal cuck you are (regardless of your actual political affiliations and sexual fetishes, mind).

Please note that I don’t completely disagree with Cernovich’s thesis here. Political discourse on the Internet has indeed turned into a pool of confirmation bias and echo chambers wherein you can block out whatever viewpoints are inconvenient to your beliefs. I even wrote something similar in an article a long time ago (that I keep revising because I’m severely unhappy with the opening paragraphs).

However, it’s not like this is unique to third-wave “Facebook feminists” or leftists/liberals/whatever buzzword you wanna call them this week. People on the right can be equally stubborn about not wanting to consider new ideas, as is often proven by the very persons starring in this movie – including, but not limited to Kurt Metzger (indicating that we was really playing himself on Horace & Pete the whole time), David Horowitz, Pax Dickinson, and Dilbert creator Scott Adams, who started out simply praising Donald Trump’s persuasion technique before going full “everyone who disagrees with me has cognitive dissonance”-tard.

I should be fair and acknowledge that Cernovich pointed out, in his description text for the film’s Kickstarter page, that nobody in the government is actually trying to censor these people and that we simply live in an age where we’re restricting ourselves when it comes to speech. But the film does address the fact that a handful of alt-right people, including the briefly featured Milo Yiannopoulos, have been “purged” from Twitter for supposedly just speaking their minds. I don’t know that instigating a mass attack on Leslie Jones, who was sent just as many death threats as plantation-era racial slurs after Milo (inadvertently or not) sent his fanbase of trolls after her on Twitter a while back, counts as Milo simply “speaking his mind”. But sure.

silenced-fan-art-and-strategically-placed-pocAnother issue worth talking about, on top of merely complaining that people are critical of your beliefs, is why exactly they’re critical of your beliefs. Is it possible that your opponents aren’t actually wrong in ascribing your opinions to bigotry? Can you see any difference between saying “I don’t want to make wedding cakes for gays” and deleting a statement that either denies people’s rights or claims that someone who isn’t you doesn’t “actually” experience racism/sexism in the modern world? Probably not but a guy can dream.

Silenced isn’t as infuriating as, say, another “past participle verb title” documentary from this year, namely Vaxxed: From Cover-Up To Catastrophe. It is competently produced and, unlike Vaxxed, the risk of audiences taking its message seriously doesn’t come with the added risk of death and sickness. Worst case scenario is we get even more unsolicited lectures on why the Nazis weren’t actually that bad whenever we share anti-Bannon tweets or Hbomberguy videos; usually from people who created Twitter accounts specifically to explain why you’re wrong about sharing a perception of history with everyone on the planet except the alt-right. It’s a funny world we live in.

At the end of the day, I think my biggest quibble with Silenced is this: we get it. We already know that people are under the impression that this is a pussy-foot era where nobody can talk or joke about anything without getting scolded by the Trigglypuffs and PC principals of the world. In fact, we’ve even already had a documentary about it this year, titled Can We Take A Joke? and starring such important figures as Adam Carolla and Gilbert Gottfried. I never reviewed it, nor did I see it, but Matt Zoller Seitz did a great enough job in his review explaining what’s wrong with it, so feel free to read that here.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that it must be weird to see yourself come under fire when all you did was openly support a nigh fascist man-child who’s infamously revered by the KKK, neo-Nazi groups, and homophobic 90-year-olds who check their closets for Mexicans every night. But what you must realize is that “freedom of speech” is not “freedom of consequence” and certainly not “freedom of criticism”. In fact, the criticism you receive for your statements is, by itself, free speech, hence my puzzlement as to who the real pro-censorship activists are.

The trailer for the film (which is mostly a series of still images set to dramatic music and ominous text) is posted below. There’s probably a more recent one somewhere that contains more footage but I don’t look for data that challenges me because I don’t care about your feelings or some shit like that. Gotcha.

2.5/5 whatever