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”A lot of this ‘feminist’ discussion is intellectually retarded.”
Laura Poitras has an Academy Award and a Pulitzer Prize, but those accolades pale in comparison to her latest honor: being the subject of a poem by Pamela Anderson.
Anderson, as you may be aware—and if you are not, we will observe a brief pause at the end of this sentence while you collect your thoughts—is rumored to be dating WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange. (Pause.) In a post to the “journaling” section of her website, Anderson says she’d just as soon “dampen” those rumors, but she does rush to defend Assange from Poitras’ new documentary, Risk, which she calls “problematic.”
When Risk played Cannes last year, it was criticized for being too favorable to Assange, but the final version, which Poitras was editing up until the middle of last week, is substantially more skeptical, beginning with a barbed phone call in which Assange asks to speak with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (he is not successful), and encompassing WikiLeaks’ arguably decisive influence on the 2016 U.S. presidential election. While Assange has denied reports of a falling-out between documentarian and subject, in the film Poitras reads from messages that make it clear that he now regards her as something less than an ally.
But what of Pamela Anderson? She begins by decrying “the injustice of people / turning a serious political struggle / into a discussion / on male privilege,” which seems to refer both to the sexual assault charges that have been brought against Assange and the obvious enmity between him and Clinton. “I have to say it a lot of this / ‘feminist’ discussion is intellectually retarded.”
If you take away the sexist angle and reframe it as power dynamics,
Let’s examine Laura’s relative role to the organisations and her subjects. Her wealth.
Julian’s role relative to others in the organisation in terms of freedom and exposure to political persecution.
The narrow lens Laura has picked has been to please a narrow constituency. … The wrong Wikileaks and Assange will suffer from the flaws,
the avantgardiste acceptance of a penetration of their intimacy none of their adversaries accept,
will be nothing in the long term compared to the destructions inflicted by secrecy and it’s upholding by the powerful. …
Instead of realizing her chance,
trying to understand, she started judging those who had had the courage to expose themselves.
In spite of courage and humanity, bitterness and willingness to conform herself.
Fear of the judgment of others.
It wasn’t that long ago that Anderson was urging her Twitter followers to watch Poitras’ Oscar-winning documentary about Edward Snowden, so it’s likely that whatever prompted this spate of blank verse stems from the new version of Risk, although given that the movie is still fairly favorable to Assange—Slate’s Fred Kaplan referred to Poitras’ role as that of “artist/activist”—it’s not clear exactly what act of betrayal Anderson is referring to. But on a weekend when you can hear David Hasselhoff rapping over the end credits of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Anderson has edged out her former co-star for most unexpected reappearance by a Baywatch star.
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Do you believe in hoax after hoax after hoax?