Torpor: Hollywood Pizza Dreamtime Vacuity

Sunday, February 24, 2002 9:12 PM.

This is not the place you hoped it would be.
Was it ever that place? Did it really happen?
Is this even pizza?
What can we hope for when pizza is involved, really?
We seek comfort. We seek company.
We seek the closure of a pie, even a failed one. We fail.
This is not pizza. This is not home.
There are shadows here, burned in by a slow florescent fire.
There was an opening here, once, a passage through.
But this is not your dream architecture. This is not pizza.
You must trace your own maps. You must cut your own pie.
You look at me like I’m the weirdo. Like I’m the asshole.
Look. This is not my pizza. This is not even pizza.
Were you not listening to me?
This was a passage between.
And you are late.

Will you include everything?

Jason Scott looks at a Wikipedia documentary in which the filmmakers are confronted with shifting facts around an over-sized personalty. Although Scot disagrees with the perspective, he contemplates their situation with understanding and empathy:

How could this reconcile with the documentary? What about the shots of him and his wife and her opinion of the project? How about his portrayal as the guy behind this? Will you include everything that just happened, or will you just cut it out, leading to endless squirming moments when this is shown at Wikipedia festivals and gatherings?

I don’t envy their job. Not at all.

Scott carefully considers the difficult position of these filmmakers when dealing with active conflicts in which at least one side is going feel wronged no matter what they do. What to leave in? What to leave out? How to fairly portray people when the basic facts are in dispute? In the case of Wikipedia and Jimmy Wales, Scott sees this as an unenviable balancing act without a black-and-white answer. (Just coincidentally, Jason Scott has decided he will never make a Wikipedia documentary.)



Jason Scott slammed the film King of Kong for being “loaded with falsehoods” (and, incidentally, causing him to lose access for his own arcade documentary).

When shown that some of his assertions were wrong, he took time for further research.

In a short follow-up, he said that King of Kong is generally accurate.

In a long autobiographical follow-up, he talks about objectivity in documentary film and how King of Kong makes people feel.

Well… okay.

But viciously attacking a film for being packed with falsehoods “like the last Japanese subway car before they have to shut down the line” is just a tiny bit different than speculating about how Billy Mitchell might feel.

And when you’re following up on a rant where you blast people as liars and whores without any corroborating evidence, calling for thorough objective research and universal empathy sounds a little insincere.

Jason Scott is a good historian. But this isn’t quite history yet, and he has admitted his own tangential stake in this series of open controversies. Which makes his self-interested declaration that King of Kong is “fraudulent” hard to reconcile with his sermon on the respectful construction of a complex and nuanced Truth.