no netflix
Taking a look at the #boycottnetflix hashtag on Twitter, it seems that lots of people have reason to be pissed at the streaming service. If you sort through the people who are mad about the media giant cancelling their favourite shows, and the reactionary cancellations due to the service carrying the latest Star Wars travesty, you'll find the two biggest reasons people are calling for boycotts and cancelling their accounts are because the Netflix CEO was a little too comfortable with the N-word (for which he was fired) and that the streaming service has made a deal with Barack and Michelle Obama to create new content.

The N-word thing is kinda weird, in so much as people are boycotting the service after Netflix fired the offending... offender. The hashtag seems to be being used by anti-racists, so I'm not sure what they're trying to accomplish there. It kind of seems like they're sending the opposite message of what's intended, unless they think the company should be taught a lesson for ever having someone on staff who regularly throws around N-bombs, despite the fact that they tried to do the right thing by firing him. But no one ever accused progressives of being intelligent in their strategies.

The Obama thing - fine. I'm sure Netflix crunched the numbers and figured out how many QAnon-following MAGA conservatives they'd lose versus how many dyed-in-the-wool Obama-4eva regressive lefties they'd gain and made their choice accordingly. From a business perspective, I can't really fault them for that one. Because of the willing delusion of his scores of fans, Obama 4eva = $$$.

In my recent article about 'The Magic Pill' documentary, I commended Netflix for sticking to their guns and not only not cancelling the documentary amid pressure from government health bodies, but renewing it for another year:
And Netflix is actually coming out looking pretty good in this (to me, at any rate) since they aren't budging on streaming the film despite the pressure. Sure, all they really care about is the fact that they're making serious bank from the controversy, but at least they haven't wimped out and hypocritically removed the film while featuring so many vegan propaganda pieces. I still haven't forgiven them for the whole Obama show thing, though.
And this was basically my view on the company until recently. Netflix is obviously all about the money when it comes to the content they're providing. Progressivism and diversity are trending right now, so Netflix offers a whackload of titles that reflect that (Dear White People, Queer Eye, Glow, etc., etc., ad nauseam). It's not that the company itself is particularly progressive, one would assume, it's that progressivism is diverting the cash river straight into their coffers. I'm sure if the alt-right started taking up a significant share of the market we'd see a show dedicated to a lone white national protecting a confederate statue from being taken down by a mob of BLM activists. Starring Chuck Norris and Laura Prepon (conservative actors are hard to find in Hollywood).

I stopped watching Sense 8 when it became obvious that I was going to be treated to a graphic polysexual orgy scene in every episode, despite the fact that I enjoyed the story. I'm not a prude, but Jesus Christ, Wachowskis - is this really necessary? If you want to make porn, just make porn and don't weave it into an intriguing tale of a diverse group of psychically connected good guys trying to take down an evil shadow corporation. I'm a sucker for that stuff. But in the end, leaving that series didn't stop me from enjoying Mindhunter, Stranger Things or Black Mirror. You take what you like, leave the rest.

But when does capitalizing on the 'spirit of the age' become pushing propaganda? At what point do we stop excusing a company for 'sticking to the bottom line' while courting a little controversy? Where's the line?

The sexual exploitation of children seems like a pretty good line, to me. Right wing comedy news channel Revenge of the Cis has brought to their viewer's attention a rather disturbing film on offer on Netflix. The film is called Desire, an Argentinian film, titled Desearas in Spanish. Here's the movie poster:

desearas movie poster

Looks pretty good, eh? I wonder what it's about...
The controversy comes in the opening scene, which admittedly, I haven't watched (nor do I plan to, thank you very much). From Wikipedia:
The film ignited controversy in 2018 when a Facebook user uploaded a video he took of the opening scene. https://www.facebook.com/zeke.gonzalez.77/posts/1988251714542483

In the scene, two pre-pubescent girls wordlessly sit on pillows on the floor in front of a TV and pretend to ride the pillows like ponies. However, one of the girls stops and begins to watch the other girl ride, whose riding became faster and faster and breathing became more intense as her body moved up and down, strongly suggesting that this (again pre-pubescent) girl was masturbating/mimicking sex and coming to orgasm.
Incidentally, it seems this controversy is pretty fresh. The Facebook link was posted on June 24 and has 177,000 views. Also, the link to the film on Netflix is dead, although it still shows up on web searches, leading me to wonder if Netflix has taken action already since this seems to be getting some traction.

Revenge of the Cis estimate that the girls in the clip are around seven or eight years old. So the question has to be asked: Who is this scene supposed to be appealing to? Any properly functioning adult, if asked, is not going to be interested in watching children masturbate and will be quite offended by the proposition. Even those interested in a soft-core-porn-dressed-up-as-an-art-film, like Desire, are not going to be interested in a scene like this. While the scene doesn't depict actual pedophilia, it could only serve a pedophile's interests, sexualizing pre-pubescent girls. And who was working for the interests of the child actors who were forced to act out this scene? How exactly was it explained to them? Isn't this illegal?

But perhaps working a scene like this into a titillating film is a means of creating acceptance. This is just one in a list of recent things in the media seemingly serving the normalization of pedophilia. Just recently a TEDx Talk in Würzburg Germany featured med student Mirjam Heine speaking about her belief that pedophilia is a natural, unchangeable sexual orientation (the clip has been removed from Youtube, but there's still copies floating around). And recent changes in the law in France lowering the legal age of consent to 13, under the guise of 'protecting children' do nothing but attempt to increase the acceptance of pedophilia among the public. Back in 2013, the American Psychological Association listed pedophilia in their psychological bible, the DSM-V, as a 'sexual orientation' rather than a disorder (this was later retracted). The normalization of pedophilia seems to be creeping in, ever so slowly, on multiple fronts.

More recently, the Hollywood film Show Dogs courted controversy when parent's groups accused the film of containing a scene which normalized child grooming. The film's producers apologized and cut the scene. From Wikipedia:
The film was criticized for normalizing child grooming based on a plot point which depicts the canine main character being forced to have his genitals fondled by a dog show judge without consent. In the film, other characters "teach" him not to think about it and to go to his "zen place" when that happens. Initially, in a test screening for the film, online magazine Macaroni Kid's Terina Maldonado said "With the #MeToo movement and all the talk of sexual predators in Hollywood, I couldn't help but think this message, that is blatantly in the open for adults to see, but over a child's understanding, is meant to groom children to be open to having people touch their privates, even though they don't want it." Spurred on by this review, other professional reviewers agreed that the child grooming implications were "disturbing and serious".
It's very interesting to note how many of these instances are later retracted, almost as if they're pushing the boundary, trying to nudge the Overton window ever closer towards a full scale acceptance of pedophilia in the public discourse.

Coming back to Netflix, what's odd is that when Kevin Spacey was recently accused of "unwanted sexual advances" against a 14-year-old boy back in the 80s, the reaction from Netflix was near-instant condemnation: cancellation of his series, cancellation of a future movie deal and a statement from the company cutting themselves off from Spacey. Yet this film, Desire, somehow got the go-ahead from Netflix. Even though Netflix barely escaped being associated with a pedophile in the past, they're going to go ahead and flirt with the taboo again by offering viewers the chance to watch children masturbate??! Then again, controversy equals ratings, dontchaknow.

It is possible that this is a simple misunderstanding and that somehow Desire flew under the radar without anyone at Netflix actually watching it. It's a stupid B-movie with a 9% user rating on Rotten Tomatoes, after all, and Netflix is constantly scooping up low quality content to pad out their available viewing material and sell subscriptions (as Revenge of the Cis say, you spend more time on Netflix in the menu screen, trying to find something worth your time, than actually watching content). But given how rabid Netflix is in pushing a very particular liberal SJW agenda through much of its programming (including their children's programming; take a look at this little gem), one has to wonder what's really going on here.

So while the #boycottnetflix hashtag hasn't yet been picked up for this dirty little secret, it probably will. Seems like a more worthy reason to boycott the company than partisan politics, Star Wars or show cancellations.