Stupid Brad Mays!

Brad Mays is married to a PUMA (!) and fancies himself a bit of a filmmaker. Those of us following the PUMA saga for a while know that he was commisioned to film a “documentary” for the PUMAs called “The Audacity of Democracy,” and he just released the latest trailer for the film.Now, at times Brad has appeared more reasonable than some of his PUMA associates, and he’s drawn fire from them on occasion. Althought the PUMAs thought it was to be a pro-PUMA “documentary,” he has at times seemed to prevaricate a bit about the narrative of the film.

The first trailer that was released was so bizzare that he claimed it was a very rough cut and was never supposed to be public. He also claimed that some of the stuff was just a joke and not really part of the film (professionalism!). Anyway, as you can see in the latest trailer (above), this film is a fucking mess.

This trailer barely makes any sense to me, someone who’s been watching PUMAs since before they coined the term. I can only imagine what mess it would look like to somebody fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with the players, let alone the topic. in this trailer, NOBODY is introduced or identified. Who the fuck are half of these people? We’re supposed to be intriqued because some ugly redhead was emailing Markos and warning of “intruders?” I know it’s Riverdaughter, but most wouldn’t. Or we’re supposed to have doubts about Obama’s motives because an unidentified tool says it “felt like they were campaigning against Republicans and specificaly Rove?” Evidence, people!

And why is that nonsensical Darragh Murphy story about being asked to kill Obama in there at all? Didn’t Mays apologize for that already? It has nothing to do with anything. He clearly thinks it’s a nice hook, because apparently he realizes that the pathetic PUMA soap opera isn’t really interesting to most people.

Furthermore, he seems to be editing Tommy Christopher, of the AOL political machine and Yes To Democracy rather unflatteringly. There are hours of footage of Christopher discussing the PUMA bullshit with them calmly while they jerk him around and act childish, but the only footage in the trailer is Tommy cursing. Which brings up the fact that if that time that Murphy jerked him around so she didn’t have to answer questions is worth 30 seconds in the trailer, I can only imagine how banal the film must be.

And what was with that rapping kid at the end? Just a cheap shot at Obots I guess? It made about as much sense as anything else in that trailer, which is to say not very much.

Anyway, Mays sometimes likes to flit around and respond to his critics. Here’s hoping that he could explain to somebody what the fuck he was thinking with this trailer. It’s like he took the earlier 10 minute one and randomly cut out a two thirds of it. Me thinks he’s not taking this PUMA project very seriosly. I mean, come on, did he edit this on his iPhone?

[Update]I see DancesWithPumas notices that the trailer doesn’t make any fucking sense if you’re not already drinking PUMA koolaid (or laughing at it).

“I think the trailer is well done. I’m not sure how a first time viewer would respond, or understand.”

37 Responses

  1. Yeah, very well thought out, rubbernecker.

    My film isn’t a piece of investigative journalism. The interviewees are not required to provide proof for their statements – the statements are what they are and it’s up to the viewer to judge the statements on their own terms.

    I like Tommy Christopher, and he is given a very fair shake in the film. Sorry that you don’t like the trailer. But you don’t get to judge my film on our site unless you’ve seen it.

  2. I would like to know if Darragh Murphy ever notified the authorities about that little proposition she received?

    The trailer looks like crap.

    I don’t know if it’s just me, but was there a crime caught on tape by one of the PUMAs? The lady that took a book from some office and the office lady came out to the car asking for the book back.

    WTF!?

    Is this movie suppose to make the PUMAs look crazy? Because if not………….someone needs to go back and do some re-editing.

    But better yet scrap the whole thing and save you reputation.

    This is no Michael Moore type movie.

  3. OK, I watched it. That “rap” is beyond lame, it’s just embarrassing, but no matter.

    Tommy did indeed post a lot of footage of the PUMAs from the Denver period on Yes To Democracy, and although more overtly partisan than Brad, did try to give them a slightly fair shake of the stick.

    More telling was that Riverdaughter later fell out with him savagely for screening footage of her driving in the car and yakking, claiming she didn’t know he was filming at the time, so thought her words were off the record. For one thing, any idiot should know that unless you state it explicitly beforehand, nothing you say to the press is off the record, and secondly, she kept looking over her shoulder into his camera or phone or whatever he was using, so I has me doubts!

    So Brad’s not the only film maker they’ve given a hard time to. Is anyone still wondering why they’ve never found sympathetic people in the media and built up a long-term relationship with them?

    Has anybody seen any Louis Theroux films? His disingenuousness gets a bit wearing at times, but his schtick is following people like South African racist Eugene Terreblanche and asking innocent-seeming questions, showing himself being barred from events etc. while giving his subjects enough rope to hang themselves.

    I could see a PUMA film of that type working, but maybe not over a couple of hours.

    I doubt I’ll ever get a chance to see Brad’s film in its entirety, or have the patience to sit through it, so I’ll have to reserve comment on the full product.

  4. I think I’d rather have a triple root canal than sit through a movie-length film produced by PUMAPAC. But it’ll be interesting to see how the PUMAs themselves react to it. As someone in a RR thread noted, anything less flattering than a Triumph of the Will-style feature with Murphy in the starring role will be seen as a betrayal. Hope you’ve got asbestos shorts, Mr. Mays.

  5. That trailer looks just like the first one, except with footage from Denver added in the middle. Not a whole lot different than the “rough cut” version. The rap at the end sucks just as much now as it did then– it should have probably been left out.

    Also, I don’t think it made Tommy look bad. He looked frustrated, but there was not a lot of definition of who he was and why he was in there– so his irritation fit right in with the rest of the “rage” footage. I have to say that people not in on the PUMA insanity probably will see that and scratch their heads. That’s either brilliant marketing move on Brad’s part (getting people to see it just so they can figure out what the fuck is going on) or really shitty editing. I haven’t decided yet.

  6. Okay, just for the record:

    1. I did not shoot all the footage in the film (or the trailer, for that matter). Soem footage was donated.

    2. The trailer is not intended to answer any questions, but to generate curiosity.

    3. Darragh Murphy’s mysterious phone caller is old news. Just a troll, get over it.

    4. The film isn’t intended to paint anyone in any particular light. People behaved in front of the camera, the camera captured the behavior.

    5. I’m not Michael Moore. Michael Moore’s films, good as they are, are invariably about Michael Moore. I try to keep myself out of the narrative in this one.

  7. Oh, and about the rapper –

    He was kid in Princeton who came up to me and did his rap spontaneously. He also approached me in Denver, and gave a thoughtful interview about politics in general and Obama in particular. He’s a kid. He’s smart and very sweet and maybe you could cut him a little slack, because some of you will probably be working for him sometime in the near future.

  8. Brad, you wrote above:

    My film isn’t a piece of investigative journalism. The interviewees are not required to provide proof for their statements – the statements are what they are and it’s up to the viewer to judge the statements on their own terms.

    Well that’s just the point, isn’t it? How can anyone judge the statements if we don’t even know who is making them? Presumably the film will identify the speakers, but nonetheless, “they are what they are” is a weak defense for the nonsensicalness of it all, and kind of my point, actually.

    Regarding your second point above, I gather you’re trying to do a “What is the Matrix?” kind of thing with this. Good luck. As far as I can tell, this trailer doesn’t imply “mysterious and interesting” to the uninitiated so much as “why would I spend 2 hours listening to these kooks whine?”

    And finally ” Darragh Murphy’s mysterious phone caller is old news. Just a troll, get over it.”

    Yeah, that’s what I thought. I thought you agreed that putting it in the rough cut was silly and amateurish. But here it is again, right in the beginning of the brand spanking new trailer! I mean, I don’t really care one way or the other, it’s your movie. I’m just letting you know it looks stupid.

    Unless, of course, this movie is all about the voices in Darragh’s head. Then it actually makes a lot more sense than I thought.

  9. BTW, I’ve located some bonus footage from The Audacity of Darragh. Click on my name to see a deleted scene featuring myiq2xu.

  10. rubbernecker –

    Have you ever seen a Fred Wiseman documentary? There’s no narrative manipulation. The camera just captures the behaviors/events and they are juxtaposed through editing. Without inflating my own work on this film, I’d like to think that I try and achieve something akin to that.

    You’re argument seems to be that you cannot bring yourself to watch my film if money is involved, but you nevertheless demand answers about it.

    Some of you have an emotional investment in my little no-budget documentary film being worthless, and me being a wanna-be. If that fulfills some need for feeling superior, have at it. This is the second of two doc features I’ve made (the first one was about opera training). I’ve discovered that I don’t particularly like doing docs, and the next two films I’ve been hired to do are dramatic features, not unlike THE WATERMELON, which premiered at the San Diego Film Festival and is now touring around the country.

    TAOD has not been easy, It’s been a royal pain in the ass to finish. But finish it I did, and I believe the results have value. But I’m not going to define my life by the six months I took off to do this PUMA doc.

  11. Rubbernecker

    “You’re argument” should read “your argument”.

    Typos. Maybe I AM stupid.

  12. I like pistachios

    Very good. I think myiq2xu is an asshole of incredible magnitude. I cannot believe he’s allowed to post, let alone moderate, at The Confluence. If I were on an island with myiq2xu, rubbernecker, and Hitler and had a gun with only two bullets, I’d shoot myiq2xu twice.

  13. “Some of you have an emotional investment in my little no-budget documentary film being worthless, and me being a wanna-be.”

    I wouldn’t call it an emotional investment, but I have a deep and abiding faith that everything PUMAPAC does will end in epic failure. This belief is supported by the organization’s unbroken string of failures thus far — they are the Detroit Lions of political action committees.

    Since PUMAPAC is listed as Executive Producer of your “no-budget” documentary (BTW, doesn’t PUMAPAC claim to have funded it on FEC documents? Maybe inadequately, but funded nonetheless?), I expect it will achieve the same result every other PUMAPAC endeavor achieves: failure.

  14. bettycrackerfl

    “Since PUMAPAC is listed as Executive Producer of your “no-budget” documentary (BTW, doesn’t PUMAPAC claim to have funded it on FEC documents? Maybe inadequately, but funded nonetheless?),”

    Alright, VERY VERY low budget. Christ, you sound like a fucking Republican schoolmarm.

    “I expect it will achieve the same result every other PUMAPAC endeavor achieves: failure.”

    And if so, I’ll move on. Just like I’m about to do in here.

  15. “Alright, VERY VERY low budget. Christ, you sound like a fucking Republican schoolmarm.”

    Actually, it’s the fucking Republicans who don’t have a problem fudging the facts or outright lying. It’s a trait they share with the PUMAs.

    “And if so, I’ll move on. Just like I’m about to do in here.”

    kthxbye…

  16. Damn I forgot about the movie.

    That was at the height of wackieness, where it was obvious Obama was the nominee, and PUMAs simply pushed reality to the side and stepped over the edge of sanity.

    Remember the “Rise?” Holy shit that was funny.

  17. And who could forget Gary and Mawm, and their “puma-mobile” lol, good times.

  18. Hey “theaudacityofdemocracy” if you’re still reading this thread: I’ll watch your movie, how do I get a copy?

  19. One cent copies of this piece of dreck will appear on eBay within minutes of its general “release.” I’ll contain myself and get one to laugh at then. Speaking of audacity — this guy needs his hands slapped for comparing himself to Fred Wiseman. Wiseman’s films are classics of documentary filmmaking. Mays’s work has about as much validity as the “Pumasphere.” Zero.

  20. I’m making a film called The Audacity of Racism and Bigotry to counteract any parts of the film that casts pumapac in a positive light. If your interested in sending me your screenshots or video clips to be included please let me know. I have a bunch of material already but the more the better. I want to expose these people for who they really are ,which I guess isn’t really a hard thing to do!

  21. Hey Brad, it’s called StupidPumas for a reason, this aint no rumproast, dont come on here and try to sell us your puma puff piece bullshit. Obama won fair and square and everyone except darr-ughhh , that bigot jenni , the resident lesbo dwp and all fives of the other pumas has moved on to fix this country not bring up old conspiracy theories like what I’ve seen so far. I hope to god it fails, If simply for the fact that pumapac get’s as little as possible from it’s release. In the words of the great pumakin jenni…fuck them!

  22. Didn’t read all of the comments yet, but having seen the entire film, I can say without reservation that Brad did not edit the film to make me look bad. I’m not sure that’s even possible.

    Also, most of the calm footage is mine. By the time Brad got his camera rolling, I was pretty worked up. But I like that. I think the viewer will share my frustration.

  23. OK, I read all the comments now. Let me say that, having seen the entire film, Brad features my interviews with River and Mama very heavily, and those are devastating to PUMA.

    Whether he captured the full length and breadth of the election, or PUMA, or even PUMAMPAC, well, that would be impossible. But I guarantee you there will be many an enraged PUMA.

    You guys are being way too hard on Brad. I was skeptical when I met him, but I’m a believer. Think of Brad as kind of an embedded reporter. Even from that vantage point, the failure shines through, a comedy for you, a tragedy for the PUMAs, and a good story for Brad.

  24. I’ve been going back on forth with this, first accepting then being mad and disappointed with what is in it. I’m going to take your advice and ease up on Brad until I see the whole film. I really shouldn’t jump to conclusions but it’s kinda hard not to after fighting puma for so long.

  25. Well, I’ll take your word for it, Tommy. But as executive producer, PUMAPAC gets the proceeds from any sales (so I hear), so I ain’t buying it…

  26. Unless Tommy lets me borrow his copy, I’m not sure I’m buying it. But I’m dying to see it FOR Tommy’s role in it which I was following very closely with him at the time.

  27. Who are all the folks in the trailer? Can we identify them. I saw a few faces in here I did not recognize except Darragh Murphy. Betty Jean Kling and Lynette Long are not in this one.

  28. I hear you, Gimme — I’m sure that part would be worth watching, and the surrounding freak show is no doubt amusing in its way too. I just can’t reconcile myself to being the cause of PUMAPAC getting even a nickel.

    BTW, as you know, Mays has a blog up touting the film. I left a comment asking about PUMAPAC making money from DVD sales, and he said the following:

    “After expenses, of which there are quite a few, and even then they get only part of a two-way split. And that, bettycrackerfl, is the end of all discussion here about money.”

    Sounds a little touchy about the subject. He didn’t seem too pleased with your comment either. I guess being yoked financially to a pack of raving loons has that effect.

    Meanwhile, a PUMAPAC commenter who I believe is Mays’ wife was trying to drum up business at Murphy’s site and hoping aloud that PUMAPAC makes truckloads of money off the DVD sales. You gotta admire the marketing efforts on both sides of the fence, LOL.

  29. BTW, if anyone is interested in how Mays is pitching the product to the PUMA crowd, here’s a link to his recent interview with Taggles on one of the PUMA blog radio shows:

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/no-we-wont

    I couldn’t bear much of it, but I heard enough to get the gist. Unsurprisingly, Mays lauds Murphy’s courage, insight and commitment, etc., which the PUMAs are sure to lap up. But when he visits a site where PUMA ridicule is common, he often mentions how controversial he is on the PUMA boards, which might entice us to watch just to see what drives the PUMAs nuts.

    I have to give Mays credit for slick merchandising. Not only did he get the PUMAs to fund the project (that didn’t work out too well according to him, but they say they contributed piles of cash), he splits the sales of the proceeds (if there are any) with them. And, he gets to appeal to both sides!

    The PUMAs are sure to see a filmed repository of their rantings as heroic. Those of us who have made a hobby of pointing and laughing at the PUMAs see it as amusing lunacy. Thus, Mays has 2 marketing strategies at his disposal: he can sell the PUMAs their own heroism and market the amusing lunacy to known pointers and laughers like us. Brilliant!

  30. Thus, Mays has 2 marketing strategies at his disposal: he can sell the PUMAs their own heroism and market the amusing lunacy to known pointers and laughers like us. Brilliant!

    This struck me over the weekend. Brad’s been offered quite a few potentially useful reactions to the trailer from one potential market – people who know the PUMAs well and have shown long-term evidence of a grim fascination with them (and if you’re still around, Brad, I’d take note) . Whether that extends to being willing to pay to view the darn thing is neither here nor there.

    But when offered that feedback, he just gets defensive. My passing comment on the “rap” is lumped in with others and dismissed with some promise/threat that I may some day work for the kid – not frikking likely! Brad – it’s an honest reaction. His antics made me cringe. It took up valuable time when you could have been clarifying some of the other issues that have mystified commenters here and elsewhere.

    I understand Brad’s criticism shield pump’s been primed by the bitterz at PUMA PAC, but then I think a lot of them – and me – thought they were contributing to a film to be used as part of their campaign to stop Obama being elected (and yes, I know that some version or versions have already been shown to select audiences – but was it just intended to preach to the converted?).

    That may all be down to Murphy not being clear about the intentions, but – far be it for me to offer the PMAs advice, though I think it’s safely too late now – if that’s what they were after, they’d have been better off spending the cash on a series of well-produced YouTube shorts.

    I still think they’d have failed in an epic fashion, obviously.

  31. betteycrackerfl –

    If you were to launch on a journey, one of your own devising yet similar to the one Darragh embarked on half a year ago, I’d find that admirable. Regardless of whether or not I personally found your intentions reasonable based on my own world view, I’d have to respect you. I’m a sucker for people who have the guts to throw their hats into the arena. Whether you like Darragh or not (and clearly you don’t), she DOES have the courage of her convictions. Is she a person beyond reproach? No, of course not.

    “Thus, Mays has 2 marketing strategies at his disposal: he can sell the PUMAs their own heroism and market the amusing lunacy to known pointers and laughers like us. Brilliant!”

    Well, to the degree that people will see what they want to see in the film, I guess your observation – minus my personal brilliance – is a true one.

    What you don’t seem to be able to accept is the notion I did my best to make an honest film.
    What I get from you is that the PUMAs are worthless, collectively and individually, and nothing that any one of the has said or done, or ever will say or do, can have any value whatsoever. Sorry, but for me the math doesn’t hold up.

    Being on the inside of a number of PUMA events, I can tell you that from my point of view, there were some SERIOUS missteps along the way. One in particular I’m still quite angry about, and feel that at some point in time needs to be addressed in public. Nor do I understand why occasional racist comments are tolerated on some PUMA blogs. The whole voting for McCain thing really rubbed me the wrong way. But still, I have to give Darragh credit for being willing to go out and made a stand. I’ll say it again: I think that’s what America is all about.

    As far as being a “slick merchandiser,” I suspect I’m more of a mediocre diplomat. I still get no end of shit for coming into the rumproast blog, but I have enjoyed my time there and have found that, despite our obvious differences, there are some folks there I really like.

    Ultimately? I’m glad the film is finished and I am OUT of the PUMA game for good. I’ve turned my film in, done the best with it I could, and am going back to work on my real life. I’m slated to shoot two indie dramatic features this year, and neither of them has anything to do with politics.

  32. bettycrackerfl –

    As to your second post. Back to the rapper. I’m not really being defensive. I just hate to see a sixteen year old kid help up to wanton ridicule.

    One thing that happened last night during my talk with Sheri Tag really annoyed me. One of the regulars at The Confluence posted on the chat board that it took me over 50 minutes to mention Riverdaughter (I think she was wrong, but that’s beside the point) by name, a sure sign, I suppose, of my intrinsic loathsomeness. The level of pettiness there is so off the charts for me I really don’t know what to think. A couple of months ago, myiq2xu told my wife Lorenda to go fuck herself, right on the Confluence site. The remark was immediately deleted (talk about slick) and a new thread was immediately begun with stern rules posted about flaming. We were both then referred to as “internet vermin.” And while all of this was going on, I was working 8, 9, 10 hour days editing a movie for PUMA.

    Weird. Very fucking weird.

  33. I just hate to see a sixteen year old kid help up to wanton ridicule.

    Brad (that second post was mine, not Betty’s, but you’re forgiven – this typesize does me no favors either) – I don’t think that pointing out in passing that his appearance in this trailer is embarrassing and cringeworthy is holding him up to “wanton ridicule”. Quite the opposite.

    If he’s going to be the sort of high-flyer you appear to think he’ll be, I’m sure that footage will haunt him for his whole career.

    There were a whole load of really stupid things I did in my youth which I’m heartily glad weren’t recorded indelibly. That’s just part of the reason it made me cringe!

  34. yetanotherfreakingbrit –

    “Brad (that second post was mine, not Betty’s

    Well, this page IS called “Stupid Brad Mays.” 🙂

    Look, all I can say is that I’m totally exhausted from this entire enterprise and that I’ve done my best. I don’t have any cards up my sleeve and I always post in my real name for transparency’s sake. I think I’ve run a pretty clean ship so far as TAOD goes, and I suppose I’ll have to resign myself to the fact that some people are simply unable to take my saying so at face value.

  35. yetanotherfreakingbrit –

    One final think (and I do mean final):

    You and some the folks at rumproast could have made my life a misery during the two blog radio interviews I did this weekend, and you chose not to. I really appreciate the fact, and want to use this opportunity to thank-you for being so…circumspect, I guess is the right word. Most particulary to Mrs. Polly, Strange, and Kerrie, you’ve been swell.

  36. What you don’t seem to be able to accept is the notion I did my best to make an honest film.

    I dunno about that. Tommy says you’re on the up-and-up, and I tend to believe that. I’m sure you and I wouldn’t agree on what constitutes an honest portrayal of the PUMA debacle, but I do believe you are sincere enough in your opinion of them. I’m equally sure that it’s no accident you’ve created a presence in both online factions and would not be shocked if you tailored your responses accordingly. Hey, more power to you! I doubt you’ll sell many to the anti-PUMA faction since it’s possible PUMAPAC would benefit, but I sure don’t blame you for trying.

    What I get from you is that the PUMAs are worthless, collectively and individually, and nothing that any one of the has said or done, or ever will say or do, can have any value whatsoever. Sorry, but for me the math doesn’t hold up.

    I wouldn’t go that far. It’s entirely possible some of them excel at crossword puzzles or make a mean banana cream pie. But seriously, I’m related to hordes of people with political views I find utterly repellent, but it doesn’t stop me from respecting and loving the misguided wingnuts.

    I’m certain many PUMAs have similar redeeming qualities. I don’t think their “movement” had any value (as it accomplished nothing) or that their aims were worthy (so-called liberals trying to put Republicans in office). But as individuals, I’m sure some of them are perfectly nice.

    My views of Murphy are far less charitable, mostly owing to the fact I think she’s a fraud and a hypocrite. The way she deliberately incites seriously disturbed people to keep the cash flowing is beneath contempt in my opinion. I’ve never believed her fish story about the 2000 McCain campaign contribution. This gives my view of her “quest” a distinctly different perspective from yours, since you appear to take her at her word as to her motives.

  37. […] an “ass” out of “me” (but not “u”). I stand by my aesthetic criticism of the “Audacity of Democracy” trailer; I don’t think it makes any sense to those […]

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