It is, generally speaking, neither my desire nor my intention to use Daily Grindhouse and its corresponding social media accounts as a bully pulpit to get across my own personal beliefs about anything other than movies. This is a website about movies, and more specifically, a website about love of movies. There are plenty of venues for highbrow critical discourse on film form and theory — Daily Grindhouse, to me, should be a space for smart talk about silly movies, or silly talk about smart movies. I like the idea this being a meeting place for enthusiasts, rather than a lectern for cultural critics — although I’m happy to say, in my educated opinion, some of our writers are talented critical thinkers and if that kind of work happens here too, that’s nothing but great.
Either way, some statement of intent directly from the masthead is necessary, I think. I’m the main editor of this site — that means I work with our many contributors on their ideas and copy-edit their finished pieces. I also run our various social media accounts largely by myself. This remains a very small operation, though we aspire to continue to grow. I work pretty hard to stay “on-brand,” but I’m also an opinionated person, like anybody else in America today.
Yesterday the nation was riven by the news in Orlando, where a very dangerous, very angry man took an assault rifle into a gay nightclub and murdered more than fifty unarmed people. Because the killer, born in America, swore allegiance to ISIS just before committing his unfathomably terrible crimes, and because this is the highest body count yet in our country’s now-daily siege by unrestrained mass shooters who are enabled by certain factions’ obsession with the Second Amendment, this has been an intensely-argued situation across the Internet and the world.
The noblest and the most immediately necessary response is to honor the victims who were unjustly and egregiously robbed of their lives; to list their names and to do everything possible to both contribute to relief efforts in Orlando and to support the grieving families. This was the initial instinct of many good people, and that’s where the most energy ought to go.
Less consequentially, one of the actions I took yesterday was to use the Daily Grindhouse Twitter account to reflect concerns other than movies — let’s just put it that way. Overall I try mightily to avoid doing it, and most often I’m successful. But yesterday I let some personal opinions and politically-charged arguments fly. It’s all still up there, at press time, and I’m not planning to retract a damn thing. But here’s the needed disclaimer, just to underline it:
With crystal clarity, let me state that I do not speak on behalf of the owners of Daily Grindhouse, nor for any of our contributors. I honestly don’t know where anybody else stands on these issues. Nobody asked me to write this piece. It’s very possible not too many people care what I think or do. That’s reasonable. Nevertheless, here’s the fine print: My opinions are my own; I alone should be considered accountable for my choice of words.
That said, I believe I have a voice and I believe I’m obligated to use it, to stand up for what’s right and to stand by my friends. This venue is the place where my voice is most often found right now. This is where I am today.
It’s a point of pride to me that Daily Grindhouse is a website open to everyone, demographically speaking — been that way since before I ever wrote a word here, but I’m happy as hell it continues to be that way, and it will keep on being that way as long as I’m involved. In particular, in light of this horrific hate crime, I’m referring now specifically to our many talented LGBTQ contributors and friends, past present and future.
I did what I did on the Daily Grindhouse Twitter account because I want our contributors and friends to know that while I may not be able to do too much for them [yet] professionally, I will fight fucking ferociously for them personally. With no illusions about the narrow scope of my influence or abilities, still I feel compelled to publicly maintain my position. At a time when the LGBTQ community has been given legitimate reason to fear for their safety in this country, people of good conscience everywhere in America need to pledge our allegiance to doing whatever is in our power to counteract that threat. It’s also true that no one religion or ethnicity can or should be blamed for the hideous actions of a lone actor, certainly not before all the facts are reported & verified and particularly not in the case of what happened this weekend in Orlando. And while I’m virtually powerless to stop homophobia and misogyny and Islamophobia and bigotry of all varieties from happening anywhere else, I can damn sure outlaw it here. As I stated on Twitter, Daily Grindhouse and all of our social media spheres are zero-tolerance zones for intolerance.
This is just a website about movies, that’s true, and it’s not even a majorly successful one [yet]. We don’t tend to write about politics and current events here, not directly anyway. We write about movies. And rarely the prestigious kind. But think about it from all the angles: Movies are a way of building communities. Movies reflect our concerns and our ambitions, our hopes and our dreams. Movies are our lives. So this website isn’t a secluded monastery. This website is part of the world. This website is here for love — of dumb movies and of great movies and yes, of people. Only hate is unwelcome.
So if anything resembling hate speech approaches this area, I’m the one who will intercept it. Look me up. Been going by the name Jon Zilla lately, but my name at birth, and my face, are all over the place. I won’t hide, and much more importantly I don’t want anybody I care about to ever feel like they have to hide either. Certainly not because of who they are. Certainly not because of who they love. Nobody has to agree with my opinions — hell, sometimes nobody should — but everybody sure as hell better respect my people. I’d rather be a lover than a fighter, but if it’s time to fight on behalf of love, then that’s what I’m going to have to do. And trust me, I can’t do it alone.
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