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Fealty to the Wretched

The King’s Speech is lovely. Some of my colleagues have, disparagingly, called it middlebrow, but I guess that depends on where your particular brow happens to be located.

In a world more perfect than the one we live in, my favorite movie of the year, Sofia Coppola’s extraordinary, steel-rod-delicate Somewhere would be on this list. It’s not a movie about a rich, spoiled, “Why should we care about him?” movie star; it’s a story about a human being who’s lost his way. Apparently, that’s just not as interesting as watching Paris fold over on itself. (Stephanie Zacharek, “Stephanie Zacharek’s Oscar Picks: Middlebrow Schmiddlebrow,” Movieline, 25 Feb. 2011)

"King's Speech" makes not only aesthetes but rights-of-man folk nothing but self-indulgent, self-serving parasites. It makes the duty-to-country crowd just plain right, and those who aren't quite prepared to cowtow to what's ordained -- specifically, King George, in planning to marry out of love, and in cutting down ancient trees (being old doesn't make you grand, it just makes you old) just for a better view!, the worse than Fredos of the family. You wanted "Avatar's" Grace to do more chain-smoking; I'd have preferred George -- the one, we remember, who turned down the to-Bertie acceptable idea of having a kept mistress in preference to being allowed the company of a wife he actually loves -- be given more a chance to extrapolate on the flaws of be-be-be-be-Bertie's positively medieval sense of women, commoners, loyalty, and subjugation. I'm not sure what kind of brows I've got, but be sure they're both frowning away.

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Re: "In a world more perfect than the one we live in, my favorite movie of the year, Sofia Coppola’s extraordinary, steel-rod-delicate Somewhere would be on this list. It’s not a movie about a rich, spoiled, “Why should we care about him?” movie star; it’s a story about a human being who’s lost his way."

My particular complaint about Social Network isn't that it would have us care about someone rich and "spoiled" -- I am very interested in knowing about and caring more for Zuckerberg; he most certainly IS worthy -- it's what it suggests for those not either just moved along by genteel lineage or blessed with a genius to seize the zeitgeist of the time: people like Harvard-insufficient Erica Albright, blessed it would have appeared with some innate goodness and keen intuition, but without anything that would surely keep her in the game, whom you have a sense is given some chance to say something real, wounding, and sticking because its her last words before he finds himself a societal fixture and she is dispatched to irrevocable irrelevance. Seemed appropriate that Sorkin betray even this to a class of people he would see dispatched entire, as he further stomped her out (at the Golden Globes, I believe) in establishing Zuckerberg a true benefactor, not the asshole she had prophesized he was doomed to become. Way to go, Aaron! For your fealty, let us anoint thee also.

Link: Stephanie Zacharek’s Oscar Picks: Middlebrow Schmiddlebrow (Movieline)


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