MIFF 2011 Film Review: Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure

5 Aug

Shut Up Little Man is a particularly pertinent picture in this day and age. Focussing as it does on one especially convoluted instance of Intellectual Property Law and its hazy grip on reality, it is telling of the current climate for any artistic-renegade wannabes. Lesson to be learned: don’t be a hypocrite.

The matter in question is the series of audio tapes called ‘Shut Up Little Man’, recorded by Mitchell D and Eddie Lee Sausage, but spoken by Peter Haskett and Raymond Huffman. These two drunks had their arguments recorded without their knowledge and it became the prototype for viral media way back in the 80s.

The tapes are interesting enough, but I have to commend the film makers here with their skilful crafting of the material. At first everything seems to be fun and games, all freedom of information and found-object artistic justification. But as it goes on you subtle begin to feel contempt for these people, their lust for credit and admiration. The guys who recorded the tapes retroactively claimed ownership of something they didn’t in fact ‘create’, and generally behaved like small-fry record company sleazebags in the process. The clever thing here is we see that transformation, all the better the revile the suckhole of depravity the concept of ownership in Art has become.

Watching Eddie gloss over the question of how he ethically justifies selling copies of Peter and Ray’s Death Certificates is worth the price of admission alone. You’ll laugh, and then you’ll be a little disgusted, and then you’ll think.

7/10

by Lizzie Lamb

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