Conquering the critics

There are many ways artistic people can respond to harsh criticism. Most just ignore the scathing words, others write them off as the self important ramblings of inferiors, others still opt for the Kevin Smith route, saying their work isn’t for critics. Uwe Boll, the infamous director behind such entertainingly atrocious films as House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark has a new way to deal with naysayers: punching them. Repeatedly. In their faces.

This past Saturday, Boll stepped into a boxing ring in Vancouver and proceeded to beat up four of his harshest online critics. The amusing, entertainment-blurb aspect of this story aside, some questions remain: Is this the stupidest display of machismo in recent memory or the coolest thing ever? The answer, of course, is both. In fact, the world at large stands to gain something by following Boll’s lead. Yes, instead of seeing Boll as yet another idiotic male who can only turn to violence to deal with his problems–be they acceptance issues, repressed rage, perpetual adolescence or lack of filmmaking skill–look at him as a visionary, a sage able to channel his stupidity into socially hilarious–and safe–ways.

A big angry man wanting to punch on small, awkward computer nerds isn’t anything new. Doing it in a boxing ring with strict guidelines where everyone understands and consents to what’s going on, is. This way, everyone from the bloodthirsty lunatic better suited for invading the Holy Roman Empire than he is directing films, to the puffy-faced victims all know what to expect. In order to complete his display of virility and apparently redeem himself as a filmmaker, Boll selected his punching bags from a list of submissions on his website. Applicants had to be male, between 140 and 190 pounds and needed to have submitted two articles panning Boll’s films. In doing so, Boll assured he could vent his frustrations on the very same people who have emasculated him without any negative repercussions. Well, no negative repercussions for him at least. Boll might not be much of a director, but he is quite good at pummeling people who have probably never been in a fight outside of stabbing a few hookers in Grand Theft Auto games.

Boll’s technique should be emulated by violent meatheads everywhere; it’s a perfect way for them to get rid of pent up energy, prove they’re stronger and hence, better, than everyone else and avoid jail while doing it. Have a problem at school with a guy who keeps getting better grades than you? Instead of giving him a wedgie in the bathroom why not challenge him to a shoe-throwing contest? Can’t think of a way to get back at the pretty-boy who stole your girl? Don’t shiv him in a dark alley; see who can do the most one-handed pushups instead. Really wish North Korea would stop being crazy? Why not gather all their leaders on an island with your cronies and play capture the flag instead of raining down bombs?

Essentially, Boll’s actions hearken back to the good old days when men were still incredibly stupid, but realized the best way to solve their problems was with an old fashioned drag race or the always popular duel at 10 paces. Boll stands to teach men everywhere that it’s okay to be a moron and it’s certainly okay to believe might makes right, but to prove might in a safe, regulated environment instead of at the flagpole at four. In this way, Boll isn’t so much an atrocious filmmaker unable to realize he’s in the wrong profession as he is a masculine genius. He embraces his manliness and all its pitfalls, but when he beats up a dweeb, he makes sure to ask their permission first. Men everywhere should take heed; conventional masculinity is changing… slightly.

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