Once more demonstrating the exciting fluidity of the English language, the word “rape” continues to evolve from a word meaning “violent, forced sexual intercourse” to its more modern definition as “something kind of upsetting that happens to famous people.” We’ve witnessed this in Kristen Stewart and Johnny Depp being raped by having their pictures taken, and now it’s Kim Novak who says she’s been raped by The Artist, a film that incorporated selections from Bernard Herrmann’s Vertigo score like some sort of rapacious, savage beast. “I want to report a rape,” Novak said in her recently released, full-page trade ad that should get everyone’s attention, because it says “rape” right up top.
“I feel as if my body—or at least, my body of work—has been violated,” Novak continued, really sticking the landing on her metaphor before describing the way The Artist held the Vertigo score down and just took whatever musical cues it wanted, using the drama and emotions they engendered to satisfy its own base needs, and then offering to Herrmann only “a small credit at the end” plus licensing fees, as though that made it all right. Calling this practice “cheating” and “morally wrong,” Novak then urged the industry to take back the night and vigilantly “safeguard our special bodies of work for posterity,” perhaps by teaching our classic movies self-defense strategies or arming them with whistles. "Are you sure you want to go with the word 'rape' here, Kim? Seems a little needlessly hyperbolic and insensitive," Ms. Novak's publicist said to himself while safely out of earshot, to avoid raping her with constructive criticism.
UPDATE: The Weinstein Company continues to decline comment, thus implicitly saying that rape is okay, but it has offered this response from rape-enabling director Michel Hazanavicius: "The Artist was made as a love letter to cinema, and grew out of my (and all of my cast and crew’s) admiration and respect for movies throughout history. It was inspired by the work of Hitchcock, Lang, Ford, Lubitsch, Murnau and Wilder. I love Bernard Herrmann and his music has been used in many different films and I’m very pleased to have it in mine. I respect Kim Novak greatly and I’m sorry to hear she disagrees.” Oh sure, it's not rape if you do it out of love.
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