“We Are Socially Piteous”

Well, I’ve just had enough English white trash to last me an entire semester.

The 2005 Academy Award-winning live-action short film “Wasp” was unpalatable to me for a number of reasons.

First, those cockney accents! My God, they’re grating, especially when issuing from the mouths of high-pitched children.

Speaking of children, they were a big part of what made this movie hard to swallow. See, when I was younger, I didn’t give a gosh darn about children in peril on film. They could be killed or kidnapped and it wouldn’t bother me. However, now that I have two nephews, one of them only five years old, I become uneasy whenever kids are in any kind of danger in movies.

Even if I watch a film I’ve already seen, it bothers me when children are in trouble. In George Miller’s pioneering Mad Max, the titular character – a cop in a post-apocalyptic Australia – exacts a bloody revenge afters his family is slaughtered. Years ago, I was all about Max’s vengeance. Now, not only am I bothered by his dead kid, but I also realize that revenge isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, as it won’t bring his murdered family back.

This isn’t an overblown comparison. The children in “Wasp” are in as much trouble as the baby that was turned into roadkill by a motorcycle gang in Mad Max.¬†Make no mistake: sooner or later they will face mortal danger and not survive, all because of that slut-mother.

You know, there’s this slop-metal band out there called “W.A.S.P.” For decades – honestly, since its inception in the early eighties – debate has raged about why the name is an acronym, and what it stands for. Frontman Blackie Lawless has never given the same answer twice when asked this question, but when it comes to the short film of the same name, I’m sure it stands for “We Are Socially Piteous.”

However, like the film, I’ll try to end on a happy note. The one good thing about “Wasp” was its viscerally effective portrayal of English white trash. The mise-en-scene was so absorbing – suffocating, actually – that I’m forced, against my better judgment, to give it the highest compliment I can think of: it reminded me of “The Wire” – ¬†through its brutally frank portrayal of the projects.

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