At the Toronto Film Festival this past week, Nick Cassavetes, who just made a movie about a brother and sister in love, decided to break his LEGENDARY silence on the subject of incest, which he has officially declared A-OK! From the HollywoodReporter:

“Love who you want. Isn’t that what we say?” Cassavetes continues. “Gay marriage – love who you want? If it’s your brother or sister it’s super-weird, but if you look at it, you’re not hurting anybody except every single person who freaks out because you’re in love with one another.”

Well, no. For one thing, that’s not even really a thing. Right? I feel like brother/sister incest is just some fetishistic male fantasy, like lesbian porn. The difference between lesbian porn and actual lesbian sex (much like the difference between all porn and all sex) is ALL THE DIFFERENCE. How many siblings who wanted to or were in the process of boning have you ever met, compared with how many movies there are about it? But also: in the realm of “incest,” if we even agree that brother/sister love is a real thing, that is at the bottom of anyone’s Problem List, so let’s maybe not use it as a reason to defending “incest” as a wholecloth practice. Most instances of incest involve adults and children and they are living nightmares. And it is neither OK nor simply a matter of people needing to stop involving themselves in other people’s business. But what do you think? Take our quick reader poll after the jump!

Is Incest OK?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

It will be interesting to see how people feel about this! 2012!

Comments (68)

  1. never forget

  2. okay that gif is unintelligible. i know that now.

  3. Sounds like Shia Labeouf just found the director for his next movie. He’s really looking forward to getting into the role.

  4. Great, so now homophobes can trot out this guy’s quote and be like “What next? We allow SIBLINGS to marry each other???” until the end of time.

    • i think that’s been done, as part of the “slippery slope” argument. “it’s a slippery slope! what’s to stop humans from marrying their [living creature other than non-relation opposite sex human]!”

      • I’ve always found that argument super weird, like… only an insane person would think like that? Same as when people say “What’s to stop me from going out and killing a bunch of people if there’s no heaven or hell?” Uh… not being a psychopath?

        • “I’M HANGING BY A THREAD!!!” –Those people

        • slippery slope logic, when incorrectly applied, tries to depict the subject/event under scrutiny as an inevitable gateway drug, i think. “if people start to do this thing, they will obviously just run wild with it into complete anarchy; our perfect, flawless institutions will crumble, our utopian society will collapse, and everyone will end up married to their toaster or their sister or their sister’s toaster, and the terrorists will have won.”

          • When I talk to my toaster, it listens. It REALLY listens. So everyone needs to calm down about people not being allowed to marry their toasters. Okay, multiple toasters… that’s just insane.

  5. I think incest is okay for Jaime and Cersei, but definitely NOT okay for Dexter and Debra. And that is irrefutable, indisputable, undeniable.

  6. What about cousins?

  7. Hahahahaha. This asshole directed The Notebook.

  8. I remember there was one famous case a while ago where a brother and sister grew up apart and then fell in love when they met later in life. That’s a pretty sympathetic set of facts (and so unusual that it’s just unconscionable to use it to pardon the larger pool of incest perpetrators), but then it turns out they went and had four kids, and two of them were born with severe disabilities. Just, no.

    In the course of writing this comment, I did bother to look it up: And it looks like the brother was a lot older than the sister, who is described as “mentally subnormal” so there we go again. All wrong.

    • Yeah, almost all of the time, incest is the result of something totally awful. However, my cousin is very happily married to his cousin (fairly distant, but they are related) and we’re northeast Jews, not some wacky hillbilly family. And, I do know a girl who had sex with her brother and everything worked out ok. They didn’t know each other existed until they were in their 20′s, met, felt an instant connection and did it a bunch of times. Eventually, they realized they shouldn’t carry on like that and stopped, but they’re still close and don’t seem to have any emotional scars as a result of the whole adventure. Neither of them had any obvious mental disabilities, either. So, run of the mill incest isn’t unheard of.

      • A friend of a friend married his second cousin. They got a special dispensation from the Pope, do everything was hunky-dory.

        In India, it’s fairly common to marry your cousin or uncle. One of my old maids was head over heels in love with her mother’s younger brother and couldn’t wait to go home to get married to him.

    • There is a thing that I am not going to look up at work about family members who grew up apart and, upon meeting, are sexually attracted to each other. But again I can’t be more specific because google never forgets. But yeah, incest is pretty much by nature tied into power issues/authority, I’d say even between siblings. ALSO ALSO oh my god how fucked up was Flowers in the Attic. I can’t judge anyone reading 50 shades of grey since I read pretty much ALL the VC Andrews when I was 12 and that lady really liked her incest. Ugh, VC Andrews. UGH, me in the past. Let’s all just go to jail.


      • Oh, I think incest in pop culture is kind of fascinating. I mean, think about it. Readers/viewers are essentially voyeurs, and we like to see things that are kind of transgressive. Incest stories are less extreme than a lot of alternatives, because the transgression involved is not based in a grotesque act of sex or violence, but in the identities of the characters. A sex scene between two very good-looking actors just becomes a lot edgier when the screenwriter decides they’re portraying siblings. Two characters in a novel grab our sympathy because the writer convinces us they’re deeply in love, and the incest element just brings in tragedy.

        I really liked Shadow of the Wind, is what I’m saying, but does everyone hate me now?

  9. … says the guy with those tattoos.

  10. “I’m A-OK with incest” – Michael Fassbender’s sister.

  11. Something to think about: Incest is in no way OK, but……….is best?

  12. I mean I think what this guy is getting at is that incest is permissible IN THEORY. Like have you guys heard this hypothetical?

    A brother and sister, both grown, both single, without any apparent mental incapacity, are having a late night conversation over a bottle of…let’s say orange juice. Both siblings are sterile. After some serious, vigorous discussion, the two decide to engage in a new sort of familial intimacy. Should this act be treated as a crime?

    The answer here is basically the one Gabe gave, which is that THIS NEVER FUCKING HAPPENS SO LET’S MOVE ON.

  13. let’s all agree that we disagree with Nick Cassavetes about neck tattoos.

  14. One of my favourite books, The God of Small Things centers around sibling incest. They were twins. I wonder how often male twins give each other handjobs IRL, or if that’s a thing that even happens. Damn you, Time Traveller’s Wife!



  16. i’m against it, but not sure if i am capital-letters against it… so nO

  17. Dear everyone who voted “no’ instead of “NO!”, you guys are sick.

  18. Incest is best, keep it in the family! haha just kidding!

    John Cassavetes must be turning in his grave and I hop Gena Rowlands slapped him.

  19. I’m guessing Nick Cassavetes hasn’t seen Game of Thrones.

  20. This is going to be a very unpopular opinion, but I don’t see anything wrong with it in theory. There are a few main arguments against it:

    1. Your kids will have iguana tails. In reality, inbreeding only results in deformities if there is a recessive gene which is pushed to the surface over multiple generations of inbreeding. First generation incest doesn’t have a higher chance of deformities than regular procreation. Also, loads of people have sex without having babies. This is the 90s, for pete’s sake. We have condoms and the pill.

    2. Someone is being taken advantage of / molested. This is often the case with incest as a power dynamic between parents and kids / older and younger siblings, etc, can lead to coercion even if it’s not overt. HOWEVER, this can be taken away, for example when reviously estranged relatives meet each other as consenting adults and fall in love.

    3. It’s yucky. This is a subjective cultural / moral stance and not an argument.

    That said, it still makes me a bit queasy to hear about it. I am a product of my anti-incest environment.

    • Agreed. It makes most of us feel queasy, but ultimately the notion of it shouldn’t be problematic as long as they don’t want to have kids. It almost never happens because we live in a society where it is utterly taboo and because our brains have evolutionarily developed in such a way as to generally discourage it, from the few studies that have been done on the subject. So it’s such a small percentage of the population as to be a non-issue, and therefore also shouldn’t be overlapped with abuse as though the two were interchangeable. I lived next door to a very happy brother/sister sexual couple* for awhile who had grown up in separate houses due to divorce, but fell in love later on, and didn’t want kids. No harm, no foul, even if it makes most of us go, “yuck.”
      *when I was living abroad, natch.

    • I totally agree. Consenting adults are consenting adults, even if they’re related. If there’s no abuse/molestation/inability to consent due to mental or physical illness, the only argument left is that it’s “icky”. And that’s a pretty bullshit argument.

    • Oh, thank you. I was afraid I would have to post this.

      There is nothing wrong with consenting adults sexing one another, whether it’s gay or they are related. Not immoral, nor should it be illegal.

    • 1. Not true, my friend. Every couple in the general population has about a 2-3% chance to have a baby born with some sort of birth defect – this number encompasses things ranging from heart defects to cleft lips to recessive genetic conditions to Down syndrome. For first cousins, this risk doubles to be 4-6% chance of having a child with some sort of birth defect. (However, still means ~95% chance their babies will be fine!!) First generation breeding does have a higher chance of having a child with a genetic condition or birth defect. As relations get more distant from one and other, risks go down to get closer to the general population risk.

      (I work in clinical genetics and occasionally see couples who are related to each other).

      But yes, we totally have condoms and the pill =)! (..that wasn’t a sarcastic smiley).

  21. I disagree with incest wholly. Like, c’mon… there are plenty of fish in the sea!

    This should not be used as a political device in an agenda against gay marriage, but, well… that’s what conservatives do so… Carry on.

  22. I’m waiting for those totally cool, mentally healthy and well-adjusted Atlanta Twins to weigh in on the issue. Until then, I’m undecided.

  23. i mean, The Dreamers is one thing, but that’s Bertolucci, and you KNOW when you see Bertolucci that it’s probably gonna be good, but it’s gonna be fucked up.

    Nick C. has always been kind of full of shit, but you canNOT compare incest to gay marriage. like. fuck you, i don’t care if you were in Rosemary’s Baby or i had to learn about you in a jazz through film course in college.

    • That was John Cassavettes you learned about and who was in Rosemary’s Baby.

    • Yeah, I agree. That was royally fucked and fully problematic of him to compare incest to gay marriage. The two are incomparable as well as what a “Fuck you!” to the gay civil rights agenda. So uncool, man.

  24. In the 1990′s, the cable channel, Bravo, (before splitting off and becoming the excellent IFC channel and remaining the shit-channel that Bravo is today) used to show the 1971 French film, Le Souffle Au Coeur (Murmur of the Heart) all the time. It was my first exposure to how nonchalant the French, in particular, treat the subject of incest. It’s actually an excellent film. It was bizarre how incest was kind of normalized in one small scene in this, yes, beautiful film.

    Anyways, anyone else remember how Bravo in the ’90s used to be an excellent film channel that show-cased all types of world cinema from all eras without any commercial interruptions?

  25. are those his real tattoos or did someone do the chris brown meme on him? cuz those are turrible

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post, reply to, or rate a comment.