Tiger Claws II / Tiger Claws III

TIGER CLAWS II (1996) starts with part I’s Tiger Claw kung fu serial killer Chong (Bolo Yeung) in jail, and ends with him on another astral plane. During that same period the quality of the movie takes a similar journey, going from very promising to something else entirely.

Chong is sitting cross-legged on the floor of his cell when a shithead cop comes in and asks “Who’s the gorilla?” Hearing that Chong has just finished a 9 month psych evaluation and will plead insanity tomorrow, the cop (who didn’t even know who the guy was) insists “He’s not crazy!” and goes into the cell to “teach him some manners” by hitting him with a club and yelling at him.

(I do totally believe this part actually.)

Chong sits and meditates, ignoring him at first, then casually taking the club from him. Unfortunately he doesn’t do anything with it.

Meanwhile our boy Tarek (Jalal Merhi) is busting a gloriously-ponytailed arms dealer named Victor (Evan Lurie, DOUBLE IMPACT, MARTIAL LAW II, AMERICAN KICKBOXER 2). There are fiery explosions, he gets his man, but his partner dies, and while he’s distracted some guys in a white van free Victor.

In the van are Harry (Harry Mok, TALONS OF THE EAGLE) and eye-patch-wearing Patch (Paul Rapovski, EXTREME CHALLENGE, BOONDOCK SAINTS II), who work for a guy in San Francisco named Dai Lo Fu (Ong Soo Han, BLOODSPORT 2). Next they free Chong as he heads to his trial. There’s a little Woo-inspired shooting with lots of broken windows. I like that Chong doesn’t know what the fuck is going on and pins Harry to the wall by his throat. When Harry says that someone named “Sifu Choi” has been killed, Chong goes with him.

They head to San Francisco to see their boss, who trained with Chong under Sifu Choi and has turned his dojo into a mob-front restaurant. On the road they ditch their van and steal some guy’s food truck. There’s a funny part where they’re parked and two cops approach trying to buy french fries, so Chong puts on a paper hat and apron and attempts to actually prepare them. I respect that! He takes the fries out of the fryer with his bare hands and they do put a little bit of a sound effect in there, but there’s clearly no grease, so it’s kind of unclear whether or not he’s supposed to be using his previously established ability to put his hands into hot liquids without feeling pain.

Anyway the cops are unhappy with the food – maybe because it’s just cold fries with a pile of mustard in the middle? – so Victor shoots them.

Coincidentally Linda (Cynthia Rothrock) – who in between movies dated and broke up with Tarek – lives in San Francisco now. They still talk on the phone sometimes, so he ends up coming to investigate Chong and some Tiger Claw murders with her.

Dai Lo Fu says that Master Choi’s dying wish was for him and Chong to reunite to do some ritual from the ancient stories of the tigers or whatever that is only possible once every one hundred years (i.e. now). Chong is skeptical and fights some of Dai Lo Fu’s men, but then agrees to participate in a traditional tournament in which the four finalists will help open a magic time portal.


An actor who I’m pretty sure did come out of a magic portal, Lazar Rockwood (BARE KNUCKLES), shows up in one scene as some dude who runs a chop shop or garage or something connected to Victor’s arms deals. Since they’re in the weapons business they all have machine guns to fire at Tarek when he sneaks in. The local cops “don’t like New York cowboys,” so he has to work off the books with only Linda as backup – mostly waiting in a hotel. Unfortunately Rothrock’s part is a little smaller than in the first one. She gets to fight a bunch at the end, but for a while she mostly has scenes like calling Tarek while laying in bed in a black nighty.

We get some of the good tournament movie shit though: torches, symbols, a mural of tigers, golden dragon statues, montages of matches between gimmicky fighters with different styles and outfits. Also a table with a plate of bananas and apples. (There may be a continental breakfast after the tournament.) Tarek and Linda are caught trying to sneak in; Tarek is forced to enter the tournament, while Linda is locked in a cell.

The chained up skeleton and fake brick corridors suggest a local haunted house attraction. The fighters have to go through these halls and kick each other – I like the part where they jump across the tops of wooden poles with dry ice fog obscuring the floor so we can imagine it’s a bottomless pit.

A twist is that Sifu Choi (Eric Lee, STEELE JUSTICE, wearing old age makeup) is actually alive and locked up with Linda. Rothrock finally gets to fight an hour and eleven minutes in when they escape together, so the movie picks up a little.

In the last 15 minutes or so the movie gets extra wonky. According to the blu-ray extras Yeung left after a dispute over whether he was supposed to get paid before or after completion. That explains the part where Sifu finally gets to talk to Chong and it cuts to a still photo of Yeung to represent him listening. It does not explain the scenes where Dai Lo Fu is portrayed by a guy with a hood hiding his face and occasional inserts of grainy older footage of his face. At least Linda gets to do some kicks and have a bench vs. wooden sticks fight with Patch while Tarek fights Victor.

And then, crazily enough, Sifu and Chong (or at least silhouettes of two people wearing hooded cloaks) open a magical glowing portal.

Tarek says, “Wait. Let them go. He’s paid his dues.” (I have no idea why he thinks that. This guy was a serial killer until they busted him less than a year ago. He murdered one of Tarek’s close friends!)

Part I writer J. Stephen Maunder was promoted to director for the first time, and co-wrote the screenplay with Andreas Kyprianou (BUSTER’S CHRISTMAS WISH). I think it’s fair to say this isn’t as well directed as the first one. I assumed the budget was smaller, but the extras say it was a little bigger. Rothrock also says that she had been taking classes at Second City to improve her acting, and I do think that’s noticeable.

On the commentary Merhi says that the reason for the weird ending was to set up for Chong becoming a good guy in the third one. That could’ve been cool/fun/ridiculous, but after what happened on II he decided not to invite Bolo back for the finale, TIGER CLAWS III: THE FINAL CONFLICT (2000). Maunder directed again, and they continued with the magical time travel business, with an “ancient warriors in a modern city” premise kinda like a poor man’s THE SHADOW or HIGHLANDER: THE FINAL DIMENSION.

This one opens with Tarek and Linda already together. She thought Tarek had invited her out for a steak, but it was actually a stakeout (get it?). A thief eludes them, but the incident gets them an invite to a fundraiser by Chinese artifact collector Malcolm Goodman (Nicholas Celozzi, “Man in High Hat Bar,” MARKED FOR DEATH). Linda has a line about wearing pants whenever she goes out with Tarek (knowing she’ll have to kick some motherfuckers). When they show up at the address they realize it’s “the same theater that Chong murdered all those people in.”

In the dojo part of the theater (which still has the tiger head banner and yin yang floor design), Malcolm unveils three uniforms belonging to ancient Chinese assassins and introduces Stryker Gudenov (Loren Avedon, NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER 2 and 3), who Tarek recognizes as “de man from de warehouse.”

But then the theater is struck by lightning, there’s a bunch of electricity and sparks, and the three masters manifest inside their uniforms. They’re played by Rebecca Chu (who played a hostess in part II), Sam Tsui (“Man #6” in COLD VENGEANCE) and… I’m not sure the third one. The only reference material I could find said it was Mo Chow, but I believe his credit as “Tiger Claw Master” is referring to a cameo where he walks by during the demonstration and we recognize him as Master Chow from part I.

The partygoers flee as the masters make evil faces, growl, attack everybody and shoot electricity from their hands. In an obviously frustrating turn of events, Linda is killed off not much more than 20 minutes into the movie.

The warriors leave with Stryker, who’s a funny character, just a total asshole who likes to smoke cigars and wear black suits, sometimes dances around a little, tells the warriors “what you need is to get laid,” brings them around town to bully people at restaurants and stuff. They eat lots of food – “I guess they got hungry after 500 years,” Tarek says.

When Stryker loses track of the warriors he says out loud, “Let’s see, if I was 500 years old where the heck would I go?” And then “Ah ha!” when he hears some drum and bass music coming from a dance club. I don’t know how he knew they were into that.

For help, Tarek seeks out Stryker’s mentor Master Jin (Carter Wong, HARDCASE AND FIST, with blistered knuckles and three painted on white streaks in his hair) who is introduced with one of my favorite action cliches – happening to be in a mini-mart when some suckers try to rob it. He has a few odd quirks, like for some reason they establish that he falls asleep whenever he’s in a moving car.

Tarek doesn’t drink, so he mourns Linda by going to a bar and buying whisky for some other guy to drink. Then Master Jin catches up with him and says he’ll teach him the dangerous Black Tiger style to defeat the three warriors. Tarek pulls a ROCKY IV by staying in a barn and running in the snow. There’s a small mound he can stand on to practice cool moves. At night Master Jin swings a burning stick at him. The most unusual test is when he has to reach through a spinning wooden wheel to grab a chunk of salt hanging from a string. While blindfolded. (The last step seems gratuitous, but gratuitous is usually good in this subgenre.)

Meanwhile, Stryker uses the warriors as his “associates” to take over a gang led by Mr. Lau (Gary ‘Si-Jo’ Foo, TALONS OF THE EAGLE). They block bullets Wonder-Woman-style and beat everybody up. Stryker smart-assedly refers to what’s happening as a “merger,” and in one scene he makes Mr. Lau uncomfortable by dropping his robe in front of him. Then the masters walk around the city shooting beams and blowing up parked cars. Reminds me of HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH.

Of course Tarek and Master Jin come after the bad guys. Tarek does several gratuitous cartwheels and handsprings (remember – that’s good). He also kills a guy with a throwing star to the face (also always good).

I like that Master Jin gets to have the final showdown with Victor while Tarek fights the warriors. Usually it would be the new student who takes on the former one. There’s a pretty good joke where Master Jin survives being shot and it seems to be magical, but he reveals that he put on a bullet proof vest – because he was cold! The beautiful part is that it was actually set up earlier in the car.

Linda comes back for a lovey dovey flashback, and then at the end when (PLOT TWIST SPOILER) we jump back to the theater where Tarek passed out when the lightning struck. So either the whole movie was a vision or he magically fixed it to set things back.

Of course the worst thing about the movie is what it does to Rothrock’s character, but we learn from the interviews on the blu-ray that it was unavoidable. Turns out Rothrock was pregnant and they had to rewrite around that at the last minute. She did do a fight with a wooden staff and was supposed to do it lightly but she says she didn’t know how to hold back.

Future superstar comedian Russell Peters plays the less jerky of two police detectives who feud with Tarek – it’s his second movie role, after “Snake’s Friend” in something called BOOZECAN (1994). 13 years later he was number three on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid comedians, earning $21 million in a year (which I’m pretty sure is quite a bit more than the budget of the whole TIGER CLAWS trilogy.) If that guy starts doing big movies and I review one of them I think you know which title I will put in parentheses after his name.

I’m glad Vinegar Syndrome’s blu-ray set included the whole trilogy so we can go through the whole unpredictable journey with Tarek, Linda (RIP) (never mind, not RIP) and Chong (in another dimension). I like when sequels go Zeist on us like that. But to me TIGER CLAWS is the real gem of the bunch.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022 at 10:39 am and is filed under Action, Martial Arts, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

28 Responses to “Tiger Claws II / Tiger Claws III”

  1. Is it weird that I have no idea who Russell Peters is? I thought first you were joking about him becoming a megastar, but I guess he is one of those phenomenons that nobody outside of the US knows.

  2. Maybe he’s mostly big in his native Canada? I’ve never seen his act, I think I just heard him on WTF or something and found out that he’s one of those giant stadium tour guys. Also since he hasn’t really expanded to sitcoms or movies those of us who don’t pay attention to that stuff never end up hearing about him.

    p.s. This reminds me of when I reviewed SIMON SEZ sincerely not knowing who Dane Cook was and describing him like this:

    “There’s one guy playing Dennis’s sidekick, and you can tell he’s one of those bad standup comics who will porbaly star in a show from UPN that you never heard of. The way you can tell is whenever he has a line that mentions a dog or a dinosaur or whatever, then he goes into a long imitation of the animal he mentioned. Like, ‘Don’t talk to me like I’m a dog. Woof woof! Grrrrr! Woof woof! Woof! Woof! Woof woof!’ That’s what comedians do when they’re told they’re playing the funny sidekick character, they take the lines from the script and improvise, riff of em, try to turn everything into a joke, even though it’s not a joke.”

  3. Wow!It is kinda sorta weird when I hear Americans (sorry, by that I mean Vern. CJ, I presume you’re German?) say they’re not that familiar with Russell Peters. So, I guess the success of huge Canadian stars doesn’t always cross-over the border?

    Peters is HUGE in Asia, thanks I’m guessing to the success of his widely-viewed YT clips. He came to Malaysia a few years ago, for a scheduled single show, tickets sold out in half an hour and he added another show, which sold out in the same time period.

    I like him, but his comedy is largely based off stereotypical riffs on every known ethnicity, so if that ain’t your speed, then you can give him a miss. But it usually stops short of being outright mean-spirited and he bags on EVERYONE with his own community (ethnic Indians) coming in for the lion’s share of piss-takes.

    FYI, he had a small role in SOURCE CODE.

    Also, he’s apparently a fairly successful DJ in his spare time.

  4. I’ve never heard of this guy either but that’s not surprising. I have come to see standup comics as a cancer that should be excised from society at the nearest opportunity. The days of there being anything of value in a narcissist standing on a stage and telling the world why everybody else besides him is dumb are long gone. Somebody identifying as a standup comic is like identifying as a guy who runs a dogfighting ring or something, only you have somehow convinced yourself that civilization will crumble if you’re not allowed to do your job. I can only assume there’s some vital human component that you were born without, somehow howling void at your center that can never be filled, and that is why you are able to do what you do. This void will eventually overtake you and that is why you should be kept away from the rest of us for our own safety. I’m Team Guy Who Tried To Stab Dave Chappelle With A Knife-Gun all the way.

    For anyone keeping score, this rant was maybe 60% facetious. But standup comics are not making a great case for themselves these days. It seems to be entirely the domain of mean pricks who can dish it out but can’t take it.

  5. Majestyk, even making allowances for the thick dystopian mushroom cloud of nihilism some of your comments come cloaked in, slating all stand ups is a tad unfair.

    Some, like the late, great George Carlin, spoke profound truths while making you laugh your ass off.

    And for what it’s worth, it’s fucking horrible what happened to Chappelle. Slapping or attacking someone because you find their jokes offensive is a new low on civilization’s downward spiral.

  6. Watched these recently and really enjoyed the first two. They’ve got a really fun, scrappy energy to them that makes you root for them. The third one really started as a disappointment for me (am I crazy or are ALL the performances wayyy flatter in 3?) but I felt like it got a little of that spark back towards the finale.

  7. KayKay: As I said, I was mostly being facetious. And I agree that Carlin was great. And that’s the problem. I feel like all standups think they are little mini-Carlins. They think they’re up there sharing profound, uncomfortable truths with us all, when really they’re just bitter narcissists retaliating against a world that hasn’t seen fit to put them in charge. Obviously, this is a broad brush I am painting them with, and it does not escape me that I share many of these qualities, which is what makes me hate them all the more. There was a time in my life when I very easily could have decided to focus my energy on standup, which is a creative outlet that rewards all of my very worst instincts and encourages none of my better ones. While the rest of us are doing our very best to be better listeners, standups are doubling down on the bloviating and calling it the noble pursuit of truth, granting legitimacy to all the amateur blowhards out here making life worse for everyone. That’s not all of them, obviously, but enough of them that I feel safe writing off the entire medium for the forseeable future. I don’t actually think anybody should be out there knife-gunning standups, but I also understand the impulse to do so.

  8. I can’t believe you guys are wasting time talking about Russel Peters and just ignoring the fact that there was an out-of-the-blue Lazar Rockwood cameo in there.

  9. Yeah Majestyk, I get you. I knew you were painting in broad strokes, but I guess the whole Chappelle incident, coming so soon after The Slap Heard Around The World, has left me a little disheartened. Stand Up Comedy seems to be one of the last bastions of absolute, unbridled free speech that the thought of it’s practitioners running the risk of actual physical injury (as opposed to just good old fashioned heckling) is depressing.

  10. Honestly, even in the modern days of YouTube and worldwide released Netflix specials it’s a bit hard for stand up comedians to break out in areas where people natively speak different languages. I didn’t even know who Bill Burr was, before he appeared on THE MANDALORIAN and I guess most Germans who know Patton Oswalt, only know him from KING OF QUEENS.

    I do disagree with KayKay that Stand Up comedy seemed to be the last bastion of absolute free speech. That plays too much into the self-fellating view of 21st century stand-ups, that they are “modern day philosophers” and also the myth of cAnCeL cUlTuRe. I do agree that physically attacking someone on speech is something that shouldn’t happen, although Christopher Titus even told years before the Oscar slap stories of how he was approached on the parking lot after some on his shows by a certain kind of “conservative” audience members, who told him that they really didn’t like his jokes while waving their guns in his face.

    To paraphrase Mark Twain: “I don’t want any stand up comedian to be physically attacked on stage, but for some of them I won’t shed a tear if it happens.”

  11. Here’s my philosophy on basic human discourse: No, we should not be running around punching people in the face for the things they say. BUT we should only speak with the awareness that somebody could decide to punch us in the face for it. We should not rely on the social contract to protect us, because that is how we get assholes who feel entitled to say whatever the fuck they want without repercussion.

    Like, yes, I have the right to go up to some random stranger and tell him his mother is a bitch, but just because I have the RIGHT to do it does not mean I SHOULD, not just because it is cruel and unnecessary but because a reasonable person with a healthy surival instinct would expect such a remark to be met with hostility, if not physical injury. Most of us can handle the responsibility of free speech without the threat of violence, but a lot of people clearly cannot. These individuals use civility as a shield from consequences. Without the fear of physical violence, many believe they can act with impugnity. As a man of smaller stature, I have never been under any illusion that I could say whatever I wanted and the First Amendment would protect me from an ass-beating. I believe some fear of retaliation is a healthy thing for society.

    In conclusion, if we are to be granted the priviledge of expressing ourselves without getting punched in the face, we should accept the responsibility to only say things we are willing to get punched in the face for. I feel like 99% of standup comics fail this test.

  12. Lightly whimsical 70s Carlin was better than his shouty porto-all Caps-replies 90s schtick that seems to be the source of most of his reverence these days.

    Yes I am willing to be punched in the face for this.

    I’m not really a stand up guy though (“I’ll say!”- everybody), so take my view with a pinch of salt.

  13. That should have been *proto* all caps, for whatever that’s worth.

  14. CJ, Majestyk, see, where I find it a little difficult to find common ground with both of you is that, you BOTH start off saying “I don’t believe someone should be punched in the face” and then actually find no issues when someone IS punched in the face because of a belief that, I don’t know…99% of stand-up comedy is just saying venal shit about people on stage?

    Let’s take the 2 most high profile recent incidences of violence against these comics.

    One got slapped because of a lame-ass GI Jane joke and the other…well, we don’t really know why Chappelle got attacked, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to guess it had something to do with his PERCEIVED anti-trans Netflix special. Yeah I said PERCEIVED, because I’m willing to wager half the people butt-hurt over that and calling for his cancellation never even saw it. I did. And labelling it anti-trans is the kind of bullshit Zero Nuance type of discourse many are comfortable with these days. It’s all fucking binary, dintcha know? You’re either a Racist/Anti-Trans/Homophobe or you’re not.

    So, who decides what’s offensive enough to warrant a knuckle sandwich and what isn’t? And I too have heard of plenty of incidences of comics getting accosted at parking lots, diners etc by people unhappy with what they said, but I’d file that under “occupational hazard”, which is where I draw the line with respect to owning responsibility for stuff you say. You cross over to physical violence and you take that shit to another level. An unacceptable level, for me.

    And saying that you have no issues with that by building some Strawman Argument about how they’re all part of a venal tribe that makes a living solely by shitting on the human race is what I have problems with. Ditto when you bring up examples of “conservatives” waving guns at a comics face, doubly ironic as I’m willing to bet a substantial portion of my monthly paycheck that both attackers in these recent incidents are card-carrying Liberals. I’m sure there may be comics whose repertoire largely consists of calling your mother a bitch, but I doubt they’re earning 7 figures a year and even they don’t deserve to be attacked.

    And finally, under the grand banner of “I don’t want them attacked but at the same time I won’t shed a tear if they are because they had it coming” are you guys Equal Opportunity with that? Meaning if Amy Schumer or Sarah Silverman got slapped or punched in the face by some triggered asshole with poor impulse control, then it’s still “Yeah I don’t think you should have got slapped but…well, you shouldn’t have made that Steven Seagal joke Sarah, don’t you know he has rabid fans?”

  15. I never said anything of that. Nobody should get punched in the face, but that does not absolve anyone of the duty to try not to say shit that will get you punched in the face.

  16. And for the record, I have NEVER, even with those I admire, considered Stand Up Comics as “Modern Day Philosophers”, but to lavish on them the same of level of mistrust and hatred accorded to Right Wing Radio Personalities or Podcasters is a little excessive.

    At the end of the day, these are people armed with nothing more than a mike trying to coax a laugh out of you. And with the better ones, maybe make you think a little.

  17. “but that does not absolve anyone of the duty to try not to say shit that will get you punched in the face.”

    Which is the start of that slippery slope. Where do you draw the line that supposedly stops short of getting you punched in the face? In a room of 500 disparate personalities, that line can shift 500 times.

  18. I could be wrong but I very, very much believe that the guy attacking him had zero to do with any opinions or controversies. The suspect has been identified and is some wannabe trap rap guy, there is no evidence of him caring about that stuff. I think it’s unfortunate that Chappelle’s joke about it led the up-in-arms-about-cancel-culture soldiers, as well as civilians like Kay Kay, to believe it was in response to his recent career switch from universally beloved genius to grouchy anti-trans bozo. I bet you it’s more like that guy a couple months ago who climbed a fence and body slammed some wrestler. (I think there was also a guy who tackled somebody from Insane Clown Posse or something on stage just like this too?)

    It’s also kind of fucked up how brutally they beat the shit out of that crazy fucker but I can see how they could overreact when the rapper Drakeo the Ruler was recently murdered at a music festival.

  19. You miss the point. The punch to the face is purely hypothetical. Nobody should ever punch anybody in the face for being an asshole, but we should make it a point to comport ourselves AS IF we would get punched in the face for being an asshole. Many people will staunchly defend the first part while conveniently forgetting about the second part.

  20. @CJ Holden
    I’m Polish and I was a Bill Burr fan way before THE MANDALORIAN. I was really into stand-up a few years ago so I’m probably more of a exception than the rule. But Patton Oswalt definitely is the KING OF QUEENS guy for me, even now, when I know he’s a comedian.

    I kinda think if a comedian, hypothetically, calls someone mother a bitch on stage then he’s kinda doing his job and he shouldn’t get punched for that. I’m not saying that a comedian should be offensive, but if that’s the schtick and part of the act, then he’s in the clear.

    Like we have a popular metal band in Poland called Behemoth and their frontman is a stupid asshole who constantly gets in trouble for doing dumb shit. One time he got sued for tearing up a bible on stage. But I don’t know, if you go to a blackened death metal concert you should be prepared that some bibles might get ripped apart.

  21. Once at a Public Enemy show I saw a drunk lady throw a drink perfectly in the face of the opening band’s frontman after a very dated lyric about televangelists. Security grabbed her and the frontman convinced them to let her be and he tried to talk it through with her but then she tried to do it again so they dragged her out.

    I’m not sure which one of the two people involved was censored but freedom of speech has not and never will recover

  22. This debate kind of ties in to what Subtlety said in the STREET TRASH talkback. Back in the 90s there was such admiration – and hunger – for artists who were edgy and took no prisoners and broke the rules of polite society. And today there seems to be a backlash against such people.

    I think what’s changed is that back then it felt like the artists and musicians and stand-up comedians who acted that way were some kind of rare brave souls standing up to the machine.

    Whereas in the social media age, EVERYONE has adopted this combative, disrespectful, dehumanizing stance toward each other. You don’t have to have the talent, work ethic, popularity or employability to earn your way to a microphone – you just have to have the ability to create a Twitter account. That defiant tone seems less charming when it’s the voice of every troll and bigot in every comments section, instead of a few rebels who had to actually have a creative voice to back up the snark.

    So while I have many misgivings about the depiction-equals-endorsement, context-means-nothing scorched earth attitudes behind cancel culture, I can understand the urge to somehow clamp down on the ever-growing tide of asshole-ism.

    To me Majestyk’s take on smug insult comedians is hard to argue with. The idea that one should have an infinite right to be an asshole, while simultaneously expecting to be protected from any reaction, seems unsustainable.

  23. Just chiming in to confirm that Russell Peters *is* famous in Canada.

  24. Curt — that’s a very interesting point. Rule-breaking is only interesting when there’s one shared and agreed-upon set of rules being broken. When we’re two distinct societies, each playing with their own sets of rules, “rule-breaking” seems less like productive testing of taboos, and more like spiteful attacks on the “other.”

    Obviously I’ve been trying to get my head around this topic for a while now; as a child of the late 80’s and 90’s, I very much idolized the damaged, rule-breaking chaotic figures of that time – Hunter Thompson, Kurt Cobain, Bill Hicks, etc. At the time, it seemed like these figures were important in pushing back at the boundaries imposed by a very rigid oppressive society which often reacted very punitively to anyone who seriously questioned its values. Obviously we were coming out of the deeply reactionary Reagan era, so maybe there was something to that, or maybe it’s just how all kids and teens feel. Nowadays, though, it seems like Liberals and Leftists are much more concerned that chaotic, transgressive or contrarian figures cause damage of their own — which is probably true more often than not. They would, I think it’s fair to say, like to see people operating under tighter control, albeit according to their specific set of priorities. I guess that’s probably a function of exactly the fracturing I described above — you feel like a minority, you want freedom to act out, while once you establish your own hegemony (over a specific cultural space, of course) and you want control.

    The 90’s countercultural wave obviously missed a lot of things, and was, at least from our modern perspective, frequently tilted appallingly towards the concerns of white, middle-class straight men. But it was also kind of foundational to the way I grew up and the way I see the world today, which is what prompts me to wonder — was there anything of value there? What is worth saving, and what should simply be discarded as an embarrassing cultural dead end?

  25. I think one thing is that things are simply different. When I was a young goofball I was very invested in free speech issues just like young goofballs are now. But people had been arrested for selling 2 Live Crew records, Jello Biafra had to go to court for years because he put an H.R. Giger painting inside an album, record store chains were limiting who could buy albums based on fairly arbitrary warning labels, it was hard to find uncut or NC-17 movies in most places because you could only get your movies from Blockbuster. Now, most kids can watch the entire history of hardcore pornography at home for free if their parents aren’t home. The cases that are being celebrated are generally multi-millionaires whose works are more easily and widely distributed than Frankenchrist ever was or ever will be, whose voices have not been in any way silenced, they have simply been criticized, and they can’t take it. (Or, in many cases, the whole idea is to get criticized and then pretend to be aggrieved and push back. It’s part of the act.)

    Another difference is that we’re the older generation now. I mean, I’m younger than Chappelle and Joe Rogan, but in many cases it’s my generation’s values that are being rebelled against. But I’m okay with that! I feel very comfortable that my racism/misogyn/homophobia = bad are superior to the Reagan era values these people are trying to bring back, and are worth fighting for.

    Those are two points I wanted to make because I think of them often and they don’t seem to be addressed in many discussions, but I don’t think they answer anything. I very much second Subtlety’s last paragraph. One of my multiple unfinished review series that I need to get back to some day might have some overlap with that, but I definitely think that’s worth exploring in whatever form.

    I wonder what Lazar Rockwood makes of all this?

  26. KayKay owes a substantial portion of his checks. Looks like personal motive as viewed by a crazy person.

    Dave Chappelle reveals the man who attacked him told him his motives afterwards

    Comedian was charged at by a man carrying a replica handgun fitted with an ejecting knife blade

  27. If you read my comment, you’ll see I was wagering my monthly paycheck against both Will Smith and as it has now been revealed, one Mr. Isaiah Lee being Liberals.

    But what the hell. No harm in me cutting one and sending it to a worthy cause…like Vern’s Patreon Page:-)

  28. Lazar Rockwood figured all this shit out years ago, but to understand his answer you’d first have to understand Lazar Rockwood, which you never will.

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