Gelardin New Media Center stocks rooster snuff films
The Gelardin New Media Center’s video collection is alternately stultifying (Doing Business in South Korea) or academically questionable (Kingdom of Heaven). Buried in the DVD list, though, there’s a happy compromise: Cockfighters: The Interviews.
Cockfighters answers the question, “What happens when a fanzine editor gets her hands on WordArt and Final Cut Pro?” The four DVD collection contains a 12 minute short film about cockfighting and interviews with 26 “cockers.” Because 4 DVDs worth of cocker interviews exceeds my food pyramid recommendation of trashiness, here’s what I learned from the Cockfighters movie.
-No matter where they’re from, all cockers have riverboat gambler names like ‘Joe Z’ Zannino, Johnnie Jumper, and Gamy Garleza.
– Cockfighting is legal in Hawaii and Louisiana
– Abraham Lincoln earned his nickname Honest Abe not for being particularly honest, but because he judged cockfights (au contraire, says the internet).
The most curious thing about Cockfighters is how morally oblivious its characters are. One man says he got into cockfighting because he was bitten by the cockfighting bug. Another man tickles his rooster after it loses a fight. It’s like watching a documentary about drug dealing where everyone treats meth like milk.
At the same time, though, the movie displays a prudish shyness toward the actual cockfight. There are plenty of pastoral scenes on chicken farms, but only black and white pictures of roosters nipping at each other. Despite their bravado, it seems the cockers are embarrassed by their hobby. Maybe they could race the chickens, instead.
If you visit Lauinger’s first floor, Cockfighters: The Interviews could be yours for four hours.
Posted by Will Sommer