Friday, March 23, 2007

Illicit Cinephilia Den Exposed

An interesting development took place today with my Splice account ( on gmail which may prove my occasional paranoia about Google to be less unfounded then some suspected. A Splice announcement sent out to some 250 accounts bounced back for 90% of my contacts with gmail claiming a "permanent failure due to a Sector 5 violation." Nothing on gmail's help site explains what a sector 5 violation is but word on the discussion boards is that it may indeed be code for censorship. Most often this has been cited in cases where the heading was politically incorrect, which fits with this week's email for Werner Herzog's 1970 "Even Dwarfs Started Small" (included in my headline).

Although I should probably be impressed at the possibility of being labeled a political dissident, I am instead rather morose. I no longer have any easy way to communicate with the Splice club or send out the weekly emails. The problem has been reported to Google and I am interested to see how they deal with it (past complaints have been fixed but not adequately explained). Obviously I have been a long time fan of Google's work and use gmail for emails and this blogger, but I remain skeptical of any force with enormous power and Google has shown a willingness in the past to cooperate with censorship (as in China). I generally support many of Google's decisions, but only so far as they maintain an ethical stance.

For now, here is a replication of the censored Splice email:

This week’s Splice film is Werner Herzog’s rarely seen, “Even Dwarfs Started Small” (1970). The movie has the unusual honor of being only the second all-midget film ever made (the first being the poorly received musical western, “Terror of Tiny Town”) and tells a truly outlandish tale of inmates who overturn their asylum.

An early work in the director’s important career as a New German Cinema icon (he continues today with films like “Grizzly Man” and “Rescue Dawn”), the film shaped much of his evolving style and subversive approach. Eccentric actor Crispin Glover (who provides a commentary on the DVD) counts himself amongst the cult following and cites the film as the primary influence on his own “What Is It?” (1996).

“Even Dwarfs Started Small” is a highly symbolic and difficult work, but a rewarding experience nevertheless. However, I’ll also be providing a secondary option depending on the mood. “Fiend Without a Face” (1958) is a classic of cheesy fifties horror, featuring mind vampires that can suck brains out through their victim’s skulls.


Patrick said...

That's messed up.

Mad Dog said...

You can use Yahoo! Groups to send out group e-mails, too. Just make sure everyone signs up. And keep an eye out for spammers.