Rod Dreher

You could have knocked me over with a feather from Arianna Huffington’s pink boa when I opened the following e-mail the other day:

Hey Rod,
I saw you posted my viral film on your blog. I know you disapprove, but I was excited to see it there anyway. I’m actually an avid follower of your blog, have been for a while and really enjoy it.
I have also been following your sister’s struggle and wanted to send along my best wishes. I have two young kids myself and can’t imagine what this must be like for them.
I’ll be following your excellent work and opinion, keep it up.

It came from Marc Klasfeld, the director of the fake school play “Scarface” viral video that’s gotten so much attention lately. I thanked Marc for his kind words about my sister, and asked him if he’d answer a few questions for readers. He generously consented. Here’s our short interview:

I was surprised to read that you read my blog, and that you think a cultural conservative like me might have more in common with you than I think. What do you mean?
I am a big fan of your blog. I read it avidly. Often stereotypes are made against us “Hollywood” types, but they are similar to stereotypes against Christians, or anyone really. The truth is always much more interesting and nuanced. If you look at that body of mywork or even consider my viral a little deeper, you might realize we have a lot in common in studying our culture. (please let your readers know, this isn’t my first foray into something like this or link to my work so they can judge for themselves). [Note from Rod: Here’s the link to Rockhard Films, Marc’s production company, and here’s the link to his Wiki page.]
Sounds like you think I missed the point of the Scarface viral. What were you trying to say with it?
It’s satire, you can’t be politically correct when you do that. I enjoy humor when it has a point, and this points out that a play like this could happen in our society as many of our moral codes have broken down, which is why its been so effective. It makes us question ourselves and our society, and for the most part, we don’t like what we see. Some people reaction is to laugh at it, others choose to be angry. I liken it to Bill Maher, who I’m also a big fan of. I laugh at him, but I think along with what he says. I enjoy stirring debate and conversation and I’m sure some positivity will come of this.
Critics of the Scarface video on my site said — and I agree with them — that even if the video was a satire, it still required kids to act out a scenario inappropriate to their age. (This is admittedly more broadly a problem with child actors doing scenes in R-rated films.) How would you defend your choice?
I have used children in many of my projects, that is very commonplace in Hollywood. The parents were completely supportive and informed of everything. It was a safe, supportive and controlled environment. And to these kids, lets be honest, they’ve seen much worse than this if they flip on their favorite kids TV channel for even a minute. And Child actors have been in much worse things such as horror movies. Bad News Bears, the original, is one of my favorite movies. One of the young characters Tanner said: “Jews, spics, niggers, and now a girl?” Watching that growing up, it didn’t make me want to use those words. Rather it educated me that those were negative words to use. I believe the kids used in this will have a similar experience with this project. Their parents are all really bright. I am against child exploitation in any way, I have two very young kids of my own.

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