Pimps, Hos, and Ghettophysics: An Interview with filmmaker, Will Arntz

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by Tuula Fai

Filmmaker Will Arntz burst into collective consciousness in 2005 with his hit movie What The Bleep Do We Know?! The film ignited people’s interest in the science of spirituality and sparked a grassroots movement around quantum physics.

Arntz is breaking new ground again in his latest film, Ghettophysics: Will the Real Pimps and Hos Please Stand Up!, co-created with author E. Raymond Brown. Why pimps and hos? They are an analogy for how power works in the world. Pimps are the leaders who use manipulation to get people to do what they want. Hos are the followers who accept the status quo without questioning why things are the way they are.

To lead an empowered life we need to understand two simple Ghettophysics principles: 1) we create our own reality and 2) the macrocosm (world) reflects the microcosm (individual). In this interview, Arntz shows us how to apply Ghettophysics to lead a more empowered life.

What is the message of your new film, Ghettophysics: Will the Real Pimps and Hos Please Stand Up!

The first message is to be aware of all the games out there. The world is full of people trying to convince you to do what they want. Second, once you are aware, it is up to you to choose what you want to do, which creates your happiness and your power. That’s the message of the film. It’s the empowerment of the individual to break free from all the conditioning.

How do the street terms pimps and hos help you communicate this message?

It’s shock therapy because most of us have some sort of response to these words. First, they grab your attention. Second, they’re a great analogy for how power and manipulation work in the world. They cut through all the nice rhetoric and tell it like it is. For instance, politicians talk about patriotism and terrorism to justify taking away our constitutional freedoms. The street approach of saying, “They’re just pimping us on patriotism to get us to do something,” helps us see what’s really going on.

The other reason the language works is that we are appealing to an audience that’s generally not going to pick up self-help books. It’s more for twenty to thirty-five year olds who are a little cynical and rebellious. If you start coming at them with metaphysics and spirituality, they are going to be like, “Yeah, whatever.” But, if you talk pimps and hos, then they’re like, “Okay, no one is going to preach to me so I can listen.”

Is the movie’s message also about taking personal responsibility to change yourself first?

Definitely. It’s classic Buddhism. If you are a mess inside, you are not going to do any good trying to change the world. You are probably just going to mess things up. So take care of business at home first. Be responsible. Don’t look outside for happiness because it never works. I’ve been there. Before I did films, I created a software company, sold it for millions, and didn’t have to work again. I thought, “This is going to give me happiness.” It did for a couple of months. Then, it was like, “Well, I’m still me.” Focusing within for happiness is another important message of the film.

In the film, you use archetypes to explain the power dynamics of pimps and hos. Please tell us more.

Archetypes are everywhere all the time. It’s not just about pimps and hos in the street sense, it’s about energies. The pimp is the leader, the king, the priest, and the idealist. The ho is the follower, the server, the worker, and the caretaker. We want to move beyond the stereotypes to eliminate the value judgment — because in our society, everyone wants to be the pimp. But it’s not one or the other. You need both sides to have a happy, safe world.

Are you surprised by people’s reactions to the film?

I’ve been a little surprised by the response of the African-American media. There has been some pushback. My sense is they don’t want to have anything to do with pimps and hos. I think it’s because they haven’t really seen the film. Unless you watch it, you don’t know what it’s about. You might think it’s a film glorifying street life. But the people who actually show up at the theater — including those in the spiritual community — have had a very positive response.

What did John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hitman, mean when he said the distance between rich and poor has led to a worldwide crisis?

John said that the trouble is the extreme disparity between the pimps and the hos — the wealthy nations and the developing ones. The pimps are making way too much money and the people doing the work are making way too little. For example, you have Nike executives earning extraordinary salaries on the backs of child workers in Malaysia. My favorite quote in the movie is by Lo da Show who says “Let’s unite, let’s don’t fight, and let’s get the money right.” That sums it up. If you get the money right, then you don’t have such disparity and that’s where much of the hatred and unrest comes from.

In the movie, Cornell West says something like, “Your job is to de-pimpify but keep the wisdom you learned from your pimpery. What did he mean?

It’s the knowledge you gain from being in a leadership role. You learn how to motivate people and get them to do what you want to affect change. It’s also the wisdom to recognize that if you are just affecting change for your own good — for your own pimpery — then it’s not going to bring you happiness.

Byron Katie says in the film, “You have to believe it to see it.” You quote Buckminster Fuller who said, “We are about to find out if humans are a successful experiment of nature.” Do you believe we can evolve beyond our pimp and ho power structure?

I’m an optimist. If I didn’t believe it was possible, I wouldn’t have made the movie. Bucky Fuller used to say, “All the solutions to all the problems are already there, it’s just a matter of will to implement them.” I hope this movie will push people toward solutions.

In the film, you talk about getting trapped in victim mode. Please explain.

Brother Ishmael who’s featured in the movie calls victimhood “CEB Disease: Complain, Excusitis, Blameology.” Many people fall back into CEB. As soon as you do, you’re in a ho mindset. Most people, myself included, go into that victim mindset from time to time. It’s a real dead end.

What is success for you with this film?

Success is getting people to think for themselves and take responsibility for their lives. I want them to become aware and question things so they’re not just taking the status quo as it comes. I believe people are much smarter than those in power give them credit for. If we can just release people’s innate creativity and intelligence, then things will get a lot better. But many people in power don’t want to unleash this because they fear losing control.

Please give an example where pimps have exploited the victim mindset to remain in power.

The Roman Empire used bread and circus. Its leaders kept people happy by giving free bread and wine and entertaining them at the Coliseum. Today it’s letting people watch Sunday afternoon football and drink cheap beer. Leaders also use fear. In the film we said, “If the pimp says the terrorists are everywhere, then the ho says, “Take all my freedom.” That’s what the Bush administration did with The Patriot Act, which took away a lot of our constitutional rights. He played on our fear of terrorism to get us to do something that was really about special interests.

Hitler said, “If you tell a lie, make it extravagant. The more extravagant it is, the more people will believe it. They will say, ‘It must be true because it is so outrageous.’” He also said, “Tell a lie often enough and it will eventually become truth.” These quotes never made it into the film but their Machiavellian tactics are at work in our political campaigns today. Just look at how the candidates go for fear and hate in order to manipulate.

Does Ghettophysics build upon What The Bleep?! in some way?

What The Bleep?! was about the merger of metaphysics and science. In Ghettophysics, we don’t do a lot of scientific analysis. We just take some basic premises — like creating our own reality and the macrocosm reflecting the microcosm — and run with them. The focus is much more on how these concepts show up in the world.

The audience wanted resources to keep learning about Ghettophysics. What’s available?

We started working on them and have a resources page on our website. I don’t have time to do more right now because I’m so involved with the film’s release.

Are you happy doing what you are doing?

Yeah. I’m glad to do something that does some good. I get chills when people say, “Wow, that film really changed my life.” It’s pretty cool that I could do that for them. I seem to have done about ten lifetimes in one. You want to keep throwing off the old self because every time you do, it’s a new incarnation. You can incarnate a hundred more times or you can do it in one lifetime.” I’ve gone for that fast path.

Tuula Fai, MBA, CST, NCTMB is the author of Seek The Lover Within: Lessons from 50 Spiritual Leaders. For fifteen years, Tuula has worked as a Marketing Director and CranioSacral Therapist.www.tuulafai.com or email her at <tuula@ascendancehealing.com>.