Friday, April 4, 2008
These Days host Tom Fudge loves to talk about movies. In fact, so does everyone on the These Days staff. There tends to be a lot of movie discussion towards the end of the day, when the news cycle has hit a lull, or on Thursday afternoons when we have a breather (These Days doesn't have a show on Friday mornings... but you knew that because you listen EVERY DAY, right? And then at 11am you immediately start reading Culture Lust ...I must say, you're all fine, fine people).
Tom was on vacation last week and must have missed our movie conversations. When he and his wife rented a movie from Netflix, an interesting conversation followed and Tom sent Culture Lust these thoughts on movie myths, anti-male conspiracies, and reveals that his wife wins all their arguments!
Gender, Parenting, and the Great Anti-male Hollywood Conspiracy
By Tom Fudge
Mythology and its many stories make us believe that certain things are true and right. This has been the case throughout human history. All that’s changed is the medium. Myth was communicated orally, then scripturally. Today it’s done cinematically.
The myth of the movie cowboy has instructed us in matters of independence and self reliance. Disney movies have influenced gender roles and our relationship with animals. In fact, I don’t think we would have an animal rights movement without Walt Disney. Several generations of Americans were traumatized by the murder of Bambi’s mother and it didn’t take long before some of them created PETA .
I was thinking of the power of Hollywood myth-making as I was watching a movie that my wife got from Netflix. It’s called Dan in Real Life . It stars Steve Carrell and Juliette Binoche in a story where the main character is a single Dad (Carrell) with three daughters. The Dad seeks to have a romance with a woman (Binoche) who, he later learns, is dating his brother.
As I watched this movie I saw that it contained a subplot that some members of the so-called men’s movement strenuously object to. I’m referring the portrayal of the main character’s wife. “What portrayal?” you’ll be wondering if you’ve seen the movie. She’s dead, and he’s a widower. But that’s just it.
If she were alive she’d be right there caring for her kids. Death is the only thing that will pull a woman away from her children and her maternal duties. Call it the Sleepless in Seattle supposition.