Friday, August 31, 2012

CultJam Productions is working on a new short film

I just wanted to let fans of Ivy League Exorcist: The Bobby Jindal Story know that we aren't a one-trick pony. We are hard at work creating another short film. More details soon.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Decontextualization, Memetics, Semiotics, and The Ivy League Exorcist Chick Tract Parody

satan's spiritual structure mimetics semiotics
2016 UPDATE: Check out our comic book "Donald Trump Is The Antichrist" and other comix and films.

Troy Davis writes:

In July, members of CultJam Productions passed out the promotional Chick tract parody titled "A Demon-Hunting Veep" (read it here and also read the most current version of the comic book), at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con. The tract looks like a Chick Publications creation and has a message that might lead many readers to believe it is the work of fundamentalists.  Our intention was to evoke curiosity so that the reader would be motivated to watch our film Ivy League Exorcist: The Bobby Jindal Story.

We didn't realize until a few days ago that the tract--or at least a decontextualized segment of the tract--became viral online during Comic-Con. On July 17, someone with the handle "DJ" posted a page of the tract along with ample breasts to the online image board MyBroadband (the image to the right). DJ apparently thought our tract was on the level and juxtaposed the boobs to show his contempt for our facetious list of satanic activities. Unfortunately, DJ didn't list the name of the tract or the name of the film so readers were led to believe it was a real fundy tract (though we made the list from activities that fundies often link to the devil). In essence, the meme lacked what Richard Dawkins calls copying-fidelity; a fragment of our work was recontextualized in a way that led to confusion. The image was quickly picked up by some major blogs (the Huffington Post's Andres Jauregui did a post on it as did Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder).

When I found out about this a few days ago, I emailed bloggers about the confusion and many updated their posts to acknowledge the true context and motives of the creators of the work (e.g., Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder's post is here). This caused the properly contextualized and complete meme-set to go viral again. What a long, strange trip it's been. The panel continues to be posted on forums such as Reddit and Twitter.

The List: This is the list of components of Satan's Spiritual Structure and "doorways to demonic possession": Eastern religions, yoga, Freemasonry, Illuminati groups, New Age religions, Church of Satan, Scientology, Rosicruscianism, Astrology, Tarot cards, Ouija boards, Remote viewing, Palmistry, Voodoo, Earth Worship, Wicca, Cyberpunk culture, Divination, Meditation, Vegetariansim, Lycanthropy, Postmodernism, Backmasking, Astral-projection, Necromancy, Rebirthing, Kabbalah, LOTR, Fire walking, Levitation, alt 'comix,' Vampirism, Trilateralism, Marihuana & Pot parties, LSD/shrooms, Video games, Harry Potter, Dungeons & Dragons, Halloween, Fornication, Skull & Bones, Rock music, Heavy metal, Burning man, Twilight films, Raves & XTC, and Goth culture.

UPDATE:  I wrote more theoretical insights on the CultJam Productions blog. Also, there is an updated tract. Also, CultJam has a comic book that lampoons Tom Cruise Scientology, and Galactic Overlord Xenu; it's called "Cock-Tale: A Modern Tijuana Bible."

JUNE 2013 UPDATE:  We have a new blog post of E.W. Jackson and yoga here (and right below it is our new Chick tract parody).  Also, watch the online film Ivy League Exorcist: The Bobby Jindal Story.  Like Bluto said, "Don't cost nothin'."

Monday, August 20, 2012

Intertexuality in Ivy League Exorcist: The Bobby Jindal Story

Troy Davis writes: I'm a big fan of recontextualization, the taking of symbols from other realms and placing them into other contexts When I wrote Ivy League Exorcist, I kept this in mind and sought to decontextualize cultural symbols and reintroduce them into cinematic form. For instance, I had the possessed Susan character scream at the assembled Christian group, "For fuck's sake, you're the lamest bunch of whiny-ass titty-babies." The term "whiny-ass titty-baby" (WATB) was developed in the left-of-center blogosphere in the earlier 2000's; it is used to refer "to right-wingers who routinely bully others but whine vociferously at the mildest criticism directed their way." Of course, Susan's use is anarchronistic (the film takes place a decade before the term was coined and even before the blogosphere existed) but the point was to take a multi-media approach to art.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ivy League Exorcist in the Media

Troy Davis writes: Ivy League Exorcist: the Bobby Jindal Story has online been online for a little over two weeks and it has received a great deal of media coverage:
  • Gannett reporter Mike Hasten reported on the film
  • Baton Rouge Advocate reporter Michelle Millhollen got the priceless comment from Governor Jindal's communications director Kyle Plotkin: “That movie is insane. It’s just plain absurd.”
  • WGNO, New Orleans' ABC affiliate did a news story on Ivy League Exorcist. Watch it here.
  • Richard von Busack, the film review of the San Jose weekly newspaper Metroactive has a thoughtful review, calling the film, "a sharp, shocker of a movie...worthy of John Waters." An abbreviated review appears in the North Bay Bohemian.
  • Associated Press reporter Melinda Deslatte wrote that "the story Jindal wrote nearly 20 years ago has inspired more than one YouTube video."
  • The New Orleans Times-Picayune John Maginnis wrote, "'Beating a Demon: Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare,' which Jindal wrote for New Oxford Review in 1994, has spawned scores of news stories, columns, radio and TV commentaries, even a few YouTube videos (the governor's press secretary called one 'insane')."
  • The New Orleans Defender had a small article on the controversy: ". . . a California team called CultJam Productions recreated the [exorcism] episode, and took the liberty of inserting foul language and fart jokes."

    Update: The Huffington Post's Andres Jauregui and Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder, who originally wrote posts about a page photographed from our promotional tract, cite our film. More on this phenomenon here.
Blogs have had some interesting coverage of the film's debut:
  • Rebecca Schoenkopf, writer for the influential Washington DC blog Wonkette, was amused by the film.
  • The humor blog Jesus' General liked the film.
  • Peter Jacobs of IvyGate, the Ivy League blog, has kind words for the film: "Add a fantastic little article Jindal wrote in 1994 for the New Oxford Review detailing the exorcism titled “Beating a Demon: Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare,” and you have something that has little to do with politics, but everything to do with how people view this rising Republican. . .Take for example, Ivy League Exorcist: The Bobby Jindal Story, probably the best 11-minute film you will watch all day. Trust us. It is a “comedic” adaptation of Jindal’s article made for $300 by a group of filmmakers in California. Again, trust us."
  • BayouBuzz picked up the story.
  • Unreasonable Faith picked up the story.
  • An Atheistic blog from the Czech Republic has a story.
  • wrote about the film.
  • VN Made has a story.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My So-Called Radio Interview by Troy Davis

This morning I was a "guest" on the Denny Schaffer's morning drive radio show on WRNO 99.5 FM in New Orleans.  Before my ten minute talk with Schaffer, I didn't hold any illusions that it was going to be a serious attempt to have a serious discussion with me about the film. WRNO's nickname is "Rush Radio" (referring to Rush Limbaugh).  I figured he would try to bait me and I was right.  You can listen to the interview here (starts at 17:20).  I wanted to discuss cinematic elements of the film but had a hard time getting past his badgering and interupting (e.g., when I mentioned mumblecore, Schaffer's response was,  "does that mean low budget piece of crap?").  My hopes of discussing pastiche, irony, and intertextuality went unfulfilled.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ivy League Exorcist featured in Metroactive, the Silicon Valley's weekly alternative newspaper

The article, by Richard von Busack, gives a lot of information about the film and about the people behind CultJam Productions.  We at CultJam Productions are flattered that Mr. Von Busack called Ivy League Exorcist: The Bobby Jindal Story, "a short shocker. . . worthy of John Waters."
ivy league exorcist bobby jindal