“That’s a very manly man.”
– Declared by my sister.
Hooray for the guys on grownup TV soaps: A brief guide to cable TV’s antidotes to pajama boys.
American and Latin American Politics, Society, and Culture
“That’s a very manly man.”
– Declared by my sister.
Hooray for the guys on grownup TV soaps: A brief guide to cable TV’s antidotes to pajama boys.
As you probably have noticed, I have been rather worried that a traditional sign of masculinity is being yanked out of existence right under our very eyes.
Following up on the Rule #5 posting, I came across a post on (who else!) Hugh Jackman.
Hugh Jackman, at the beach, with the chest follicles clearly on display. The perfect way to start the week.
Regular blogging on American and Latin American politics will resume shortly.
The Anchoress sends more good news,
Goodbye skinny metrosexuals, the beefcake is back
Metrosexual twigmen who admire your shoes are all very well in good times, but when the going gets tough, what you actually want is a REAL man, says Tanya Gold.
I’m very picky and appreciate a REAL man who admires my shoes, but let’s not split hairs here. Gold is right on the money,
They have been replaced by Hugh Jackman, the massive Australian with the massive chest, and Clive Owen, the British Sin City star with the nasty growl.
Oh yes, Clive. Another old fav of mine, who also remains unwaxed,
She also mentions Daniel Craig, who looks good but manages to sound stupid on ocassion (after all, nobody’s perfect):
Gold explains the appeal of manly-looking men,
It is better to have a man who can mend things for you. And butcher sheep. And build houses and grow vegetables and make things out of bits of wood.
Won’t you feel safer? Won’t you feel better, knowing that there is a serious lump of muscle between you and the cold, cruel world outside?
Then there is sex. Shopping may be dead, but sex is one of the few commodities that is booming. All the supermarkets are reporting increased condom sales. Because sex is a cheap form of entertainment and it is also comforting.
I believe the boom and all the aspirational rubbish that went with it was essentially about denying who we were. Look, I have a handbag/ dress/car/tiara fit for a princess! Except I wasn’t a princess, I was a journalist. And now I am a journalist in a lot of debt.
And now we can’t afford to pretend to be other people, we can have better relationships. A real person with another real person? Who could believe it?
Hardship gives great love, if you let it.
Do you remember the Blitz? Everyone had great sex in the Blitz, even my Auntie Marie, who hated men.
And who do you have sex with? Big, brawny, hairy men, proper men, that’s who.
No, I won’t be posting photos of The Husband. But Gold is right.
The Monday Carnival is delayed, not because of manly men but because of work.
David Kahane (who in real life is a Hollywood screenwriter) writes about Antiwar Falling: Hollywood’s bad investment, and lists the year’s flops:
Shoot ‘Em Up
In the Valley of Elah
Grace Is Gone
And last year’s flops:
A Mighty Heart
Of this list, I’ve only seen Shoot ‘Em Up.
SEU – a videogame plot about a sharpshooter who hires a lactating prostitute and can continue to shoot the bad guys while engaging in intercourse, skydiving or delivering a baby, all the while yielding the organic carrots of death – is so bad (how bad is it? you ask) that I am now cured of seeing Clive Owen movies.
Clive, dude, you gotta get back to being an actor. You are exactly my ideal guy when it comes to looks but this fan needs more than looks to like a guy.
But I digress.
Robert J. Avrech, also a screenwriter, who blogs at Seraphic Secret points out the propaganda value of these films (emphasis added),
The per theater average of Elah indicates that only the earnest, dopey Sundance fanatics turned out for the first weekend—all 85 of them. The film is a stench of red ink, a jihadist enabling loop of anti-American sedition.
However, Elah will do a very brisk business in the black market souks in Gaza, Judea and Samaria.
You think I’m kidding?
There are consequences in the Arab/Muslim world to producing such movies. Jihadists use them as recruiting tools; they are proof that we infidels are so corrupt, so decadent that we don’t even bother to defend our own values. These movies show the jihadists that Islam is fated to rule over the infidels.
I saw Shoot ‘Em Up at the duplex Garden Theater theater in downtown Princeton, where Sicko played for five weeks last Summer. Before SEU started, they showed previews for The Kingdom, Lions for Lambs, and Rendition. Avrech and Kahane predict that these three films will also flop.
Surprisingly, the Garden Theater was playing 3:10 to Yuma last week (they’re now playing In The Valley of Elah). When I saw 3:10 to Yuma the only other two people in the theater were two young men (I assume they are Princeton University students). They loved it.
3:10 to Yuma is an excellent movie marred by excessive violence and by a script that unfortunately has the good guys make a huge stategic mistake in order to allow the three central characters to reach a final conclusion.
Writing about 3;10 to Yuma Sigmund, Carl and Alfred, however, finds a parable about integrity:
This nation was created by those for whom responsibility, accountability, honor and decency were more than just words that are entries in a dictionary. Those words were lived by and held in great esteem. The merits of those qualities were taught in schools and preached from both religious and secular pulpits. An individuals politics were always secondary to hard earned integrity and credibility. Our founding fathers may not have been perfect, to be sure, but this nation grew and matured as we learned the lessons and values they embraced.
In 3:10 to Yuma, Christina Bale’s Dan Evans is a troubled, failing, and literally and figuratively crippled man, who is uncertain of his ability to actually function as a man. He fears failing his wife and perhaps even more significantly, failing his son. Russell Crowe’s Ben Wade is a failed man, whose failings can be reasonably inferred to stem from the failure of his parents to raise him from being a boy to a man. Men contain and control their aggression and devote themselves to caring for those who are less able to take care of themselves. Watching Russel Crowe/Ben Wade and Christian Bale/Dan Evans in their interplay as one helps the other become something he could never become on his own is exhilarating. Watching as Dan’s maturation as a father enables Logan Lerman, playing Dan’s 14 year old son William, to become a man before our eyes is equally moving. At the end, Dan, or perhaps William, has become Will Kane.
I predict that until Hollywood films go back to recognizing integrity as a core value of our nation, the flops will continue to hit the screens.
Special thanks to Jeremayakovka for the links.
Here’s the 3:10 to Yuma trailer:
I don’t really understand how cricket is played, but I loved watching part of a game at an English village green while enjoying some Faust lager years ago. The guys looked great, the weather was wonderful, and the beer was good. Now here’s a cricket mystery: Bob Woolmer – foul play suspected by more people than Sarfraz Nawaz. My neighbor TigerHawk was wondering about this, too.
PS, Yoddha plays cricket at Princeton.
Well, Algore did all that, and then compared himself to the 300. No Al, your weight may be approaching 300, but that’s in pounds, not Spartans. You wouldn’t know a Spartan if one fell on you and broke your nose.
And there’s no such thing as “carbon neutral”, and you can not do “an immediate freeze on CO2 emissions,” either. But, as Jules said, Planet-saving low energy crap is for peasants like you and I, but not for Al. (h/t Larwyn).
Update That’s the problem with moralistic, messianic crusading — people expect you to live up to it. (click on the link – Glenn needs the traffic!)
Wretchard asks, Which is Greener: the Prius or the Hummer? but everyone knows the Hummer will keep you safer on the NJ Turnpike.
Maria sent this, Czech President Vaclav Klaus sent this letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee prior to former Vice President Al Gore’s appearance before the panel today. From the letter:
The moral obligation of developed countries to the developing countries is to create such an environment which guarantees free exchange of goods, services, and capital flows, enables utilization of comparative advantages of individual countries and thus stimulates economic development of the less developed countries. Artificial administrative barriers, limits and regulations imposed by developed countries discriminate the developing world, affect its economic growth, and prolong poverty and underdevelopment. The environmentalist proposals are an exact example of such illiberal policies that are so harmful for the developing countries. They will not be able to cope with the limits and standards imposed on the world by irrational environmental policies, they will not be able to absorb new technological standards required by the anti-greenhouse religion, their products will have difficult access to the developed markets, and as a result the gap between them and the developed world will widen.
Don Surber has more on Vaclav. (h/t Larwyn)
Listen to Vaclav, guys.
Listening to Tom Shannon I could not help thinking that there could exist a golden opportunity for the U.S. to take an initiative that, unless I am totally mistaken, would find enthusiastic reception in Latin America and more important, make a significant impact on our societies while generating much good will for the U.S. This initiative would be based on the close correlation that exists between good quality democracy and good quality of citizenship. A country without a critical mass of citizens cannot have a true democracy. Good citizenship is, therefore, the essential condition for democracy to take roots. Furthermore, good citizenship is a key ingredient of a progressive society. Absence of good citizenship has condemned Latin American societies to poverty, undue dependence on the State, ignorance and under-development. It is largely useless for more advanced countries to inject billions of dollars into societies that have no citizens able to put the money to good use. It would be like trying to build castles in the sand. Therefore, a long-term, systematic, perseverant program designed to form citizens would be a most valuable contribution to true Latin American development. This is a program for which both strategy and content can be easily defined and for which there is no need to “rediscover the wheel.”
Yesterday afternoon at the gym they were giving back rubs, so I had one. I wonder if those guys/ladies are still around today…
I’m back, no massage, just Pilates.
I’ve read most of PD James’s books over the years and if memory serves me, all of her books’ titles are from the Book of Common Prayer. The movie Children of Men, very loosely based on her novel of the same title, is no exception.
(Please note that if you have read the novel there are only a few, very few, similarities between it and the film. I had read the novel years ago and didn’t remember anything in the movie; after I looked it up on line I realized why.)
I saw this movie in the afternoon of January 5, the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany, which celebrates the adoration of the Magi, the Three Wise Men. In the Gospel According to Matthew, it was the Magi who told King Herod of the birth of the King of the Jews. Herod then decreed the killing of all children under the age of two. An angel had alerted Joseph, and he took his family to Egypt, where they lived until Herod’s death.
In the movie it’s the year 2027 and mankind has reached the point where there is nothing to live for, as all women are barren and no children have been born for eighteen years. In that world there are no children of men left to praise the Lord and bless Him. Mankind debauches itself into a cataclysmic spasm of violence, ecological disaster, war, anarchy, totalitarianism, and despair. The biggest billboards constantly advertise Quietus, a drug for self-euthanasia – to borrow Peter Singer‘s euphemism for suicide – so “you decide when”.
The movie’s protagonist, Theo (from the Greek name Theodoros, which meant “gift of god”) played by Clive Owen, lives a life of quiet despair and low-grade alcoholism in the middle of a London that has descended to Third-World filth and chaos. He’s then recruited by his former wife(?)/girlfriend(?) (Julianne Moore), the mother of their only child (who died during the flu epidemic of 2009) to bring to safety the only pregnant woman in the world, a teenager named Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey). Along with them comes a new-age midwife, played by Rita Davis.
Theo is Joseph to Kee’s Mary. There the resemblance ends. While Mary conceived through a miracle, Kee conceived while indulging in unprotected sex with many men.
I’m not over stressing the symbolism and religious imagery because they are an integral part of this plot.
The original soundtrack music written by contemporary religious music composer John Tavener further underlines that.
In addition, there are dozens of cultural points of reference (I’m sure viewers more familiar with London and the other locations will find even more) along the way – from Michelangelo’s David and Pink Floyd’s pig on the wing
You know that I care what happens to you
And I know that you care for me
So I don’t feel alone
Of the weight of the stone
Now that I’ve found somewhere safe
To bury my bone
And any fool knows a dog needs a home
A shelter from pigs on the wing
to concentration camps and Bosnia-like war-scarred streets. Bosnia comes to mind also because of the illegal aliens helping Theo at that locale.
The overall effect is quite powerful. At times, however, it’s excessive and farcical – one moment you have jihadists marching down the street carrying machine guns and chanting Allah Akbar, and a minute or so later a herd of bleating sheep roll down the same street. Director/screenwriter Alfonso Cuaron really did throw in everything and the bullet-ridden kitchen sink, and then some – Theo’s destination is the good ship TOMORROW, just in case you don’t get it.
The only relief in this apocalyptic scenario is Theo’s friend Jasper (Michael Caine, brilliant as always), a former cartoonist. Michael Caine’s hairdo looks suspiciously like Tavener’s. Jasper, a throwback to the 1960s, lives in a secluded idyllic setting in a house which even today is an anachronism, outdated solar panels and all, with his catatonic wife who apparently became so from being tortured by MI5. Jasper loves his homegrown pot, but keeps a box of Quietus handy.
One gets the feeling that Jasper and the midwife (Rita Davis) would have participated in the Global Orgasm – Jasper for the fun, and the midwife for the peace. These two New Age characters are the only ones not corrupted by the state of their society.
Theo embarks into a mission fraught with peril and hope – hope being what he had lost years ago. Clive Owen successfully brings the character to life. His Theo is overwhelmed and beaten, but he still presses on to the very end. He will not be defeated.
I won’t explain the plot further, but the overall effect on me was one of bafflement and mild exhaustion. The movie got really good reviews, but except for Clive Owen and Michael Caine, I would have preferred if they had spared me a current-event issue or two, along with the sheep.
Rated R for violence, nudity, language, and disturbing images.