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My father is very proud of his Maya Lenca heritage. Nevermind that he gets his height, his forehead and his last name from his Basque and Spanish ancestry. As far as he’s concerned, the European in him is irrelevant. So when he asked me to go see Apocalypto with him, I agreed despite the fact that I’d heard very bad things about the movie. I’m not one of those people who harbors deep feelings of resentment towards Mr. Mel, either. When everyone was gasping and shaking their heads at Mel Gibson’s jew scandal hoopla? Yeah, I didn’t really care. If anyone knows anything about stupid drunken behavior it’s moi. Glass houses and whatnot. Besides, I don’t think my dad has ever sat down and watched a movie with his kids. Not once. That and he was paying.
I never saw the Passion of the Christ but I heard that it was incredibly violent, and I heard similar accounts of the intense violence in this movie but I wasn’t really that worried. I’m not squeamish in the least. Hell, I’m one of those freaks who thinks blood and gore is fascinating. In fact, I’ve been known to watch the discovery health channel like it’s going off the air. And I actually look forward to getting my blood drawn so I can watch. Weird, I know. So color me apalled when not once but three times during the movie, I actually had to look away because certain scenes were just that gruesome. I’ve seen my fair share of gory horror flicks but this was beyond twisted. It takes a really disturbed mind to enjoy something like that. This is the kind of movie that serial killers would masturbate to. Mel Gibson has much more serious problems than his racism. It was sick. I’m talking you might as well admit him now because there is no way someone could think up such depravity and perversion and not be a total psychopath. At least with the Passion, he was depicting a real story. But he just fabricated this entire thing soley for the purpose of depicting death. And for what? I don’t buy into the whole it’s an allegory for imperialism bullshit. Nevermind that the movie is full of blatant (and racist) misrepresentations of Mayan culture and is loaded with historic inaccuracies that any ninth grade history student should be able to recognize. Yes, the cinematography was beautiful and the use of Yucatec Mayan language was an interesting touch, but it creates this faux-authenticity that falsely gives the viewer the impression that what they’re watching is real.
Needless to say, I hated the movie. I was disgusted and apalled and when the predictable ending faded out to the credits I grabbed my stuff and demanded to leave as fast as possible.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the wave of even more intense horror that I felt when, as we were exiting the theater, a large latino family filed out, three of whose members were under the age of ten. I audibly gasped as I saw a little girl in a white flowered dress, who couldn’t have been older than five, holding her (presumably) mother’s hand as they walked out of the dark theater and into the lighted hallway.

What. the. Fuck!?

I can’t even verbalize the intensity of the anger and shame that surged through me.
My brother went with us and at 15 even he is deemed too young to go watch such a movie without a parent. And for good reason! The R for Restricted is not just an arbitrary classification; it’s there so that the public can take into account the content of a movie prior to seeing it or letting their children see it. What would possess anyone to take their small child to go see something like this? But this wasn’t even just the ignorance of one person. The entire family was there. There were at least four other adults in addition to the little gir’s mother and a set of twin boys in matching outfits who looked to be about eight or nine, as well. How can an entire family be so irresponsible as to expose their children to such gratuitious violence? This isn’t some questionable cartoon; it’s graphic torture, rape and murder; images that made me wince in repugnance! And they sat there and not only allowed but encouraged their children to watch. Even if they truly had no idea that the movie was going to be so deliberately and vehemently violent, after the opening sequence where a group of natives graphically slaughter and then slice up a boar, dividing it up and doling out various bloody body parts, I think any sane person would be able to conclude that maybe such a movie isn’t so appropriate for elementary aged children. But they didn’t leave! Not when the first massacre of a little village took place or when the prisoners were tortured and beaten. Or at any time during the entire 2 hour bloodfest. No. They sat there and allowed their three children to sit and watch. I felt and still do feel sick just thinking about it. This crosses the line. It’s beyond irresponsible or even bad parenting; it’s child abuse. These people intentionally exposed their children to images and themes that not only are they too young to be able to grasp but that are intense to the point that they could cause significant psychological trauma.
I’m beyond words. And I’m fucking pissed off. Igorance is no excuse for poor parenting decisions. And classifying this as poor parenting choice is putting it very mildly. Quite possibly the shittiest part of it all is that these people probably don’t even realize that they’re doing anything wrong and I’m sure there are thousands of other parents who are behaving in the same manner and subjecting their children to such awful things.
And there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

So, fuck you Mel Gibson. Fuck you.

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