Sep 5, 2011

Shut Up, Little Man is not an

Enjoyable film to watch despite the cringing hilarity of the infamous Ray and Pat.  Ray and Pat (and sometimes Tony) were a moderately famous San Francisco "couple" that lived in the Lower Haight in the 1980s and were surreptitiously recorded by their next door neighbors, arguing loudly and constantly, whilst both lived permanently drunk.

Renee quit laughing before I did, and begged off the film before it finished.  Ray and Pat and Tony were very sad, miserable folks that eventually became a underground cottage institution without ever knowing about it.  They were the stars of a "Viral Video" before there was such a thing, their legendary drunken arguments passed around the world by cassette tape, turning in to comic books, film projects, and "hit" underground plays.  That none of the artists who used the tapes as their inspiration or base material for their art seems to care a whit for the pathetic couple, or even show a glimmer of shame for their creepy voyeuristic schadenfreude, is particularly unsettling.
The Pepto Bismol Palace, where it all happened.

Moreover, the two Midwest men, the neighbors who recorded all this, their efforts to help Pat and Tony, after the "sensation" has run its course, are so disingenuous and lame as to make me queasy, as well.

The director of the documentary makes an attempt near the end of the film to juxtapose the lives of the "Rays and Pats and Tonys" that still live in places like the Lower Haight or the Tenderloin and our "heroes", who have since moved back to the Midwest, playing touch football with their kids in the Suburbs.  To tell you the truth, I wish the director had hit this a little harder.

I quit laughing, too.  And even if I find myself recalling a famous phrase, I still feel a twinge of guilt with it.  Just because a quandary is ambiguous or debatable does not excuse you from doing the right thing.  Picking a side, even if it is wrong, is better than repressing your natural guilt by believing the dilemma to be nebulous or unsolvable.  Not much better, but better.  Better still, Do the Right Thing by your fellow man.

Ardent Henry

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