The Great Man

You have a sense that the boys in the film "awoke" in a way the author hasn't. He seems bitter, that is. And not because we're all under threat of having our politics aestheticized, which is something I think he actually wants us to believe mostly because along with it comes the idea that only meritocritous  sleuths -- people like him, who fumed at this crowd-pleaser from the start -- are not going to be fumbling into old preferences (great, we're going to be made to look up to the bitter assholes who hated us). Rather, it's because there's a sense he's one of the kids who couldn't let himself stand on their desks in tribute to his own independence, and to the great man who was being removed for being guilty of provisioning kids with self-esteem. 
I don't buy that he's more feminist than most. I think he shows that he feels he's been made to imbibe women's point of view, in a way that feels leaching of whatever his own preferences might have been, in how he seems to cast out accusations of sexism like poisonous spittle now onto somebody else! -- if you're forever bonded to something that makes you feel poisoned, might as well cull its power for your own use. If I was exploring his work I'd be on the lookout for two things: one, the championing of females with all-pure maternal characteristics; and two, sexist villains, damned to high heaven, whom if you look at carefully actually possess strikingly female characteristics. I'd look for splitting, that is. A denial that he has anything but admiration for women, along with evidence that some unfortunate is going to be made to bear everything he has always resented about their being in charge of his whole life. 
I'll suggest this as well. The most important caregiver in our lives is our mother, with few of us having had fathers around enough to matter a fifth as much as she, even if they were assholes that made us quake in fear. When people respond well to nurturing films like this one, I think they're responding to an echo they know firsthand and foremost from her. 
When they don't, I wonder if it's because the strong loving affect of the film has become to them inadmissible, because owing to earlier "misgivings," abuse, they've either built up walls against all strong affect or have gotten used to living in shells for being so accustomed to being abandoned. And when they point to the film's neglected and abused, it's not necessarily out of empathy but out of whatever is going on in the minds of right-wingers when they're so upset that innocent children are being lost through individuals' decisions to have abortions. 
The ones actually to be trusted about women and children are the emotionally healthy -- that, foremost -- who'd have intrinsically gotten that Dead Poet's Society is moved by quite a bit of heart, and who would find themselves appropriately upset that for the crime of being sunshine it's being eviscerated in ways safe from correction -- i.e. disagreement means being both racist and elitist. 
You can't even wish that the film had focused just on giving the boys needed self-esteem, because that is the primary crime of the film; and when people slip into it they can always be accused of having overridden other people, even if not a woman or an aboriginal is within sight to be referenced. 


Popular posts from this blog

Full conversation about "Bringing Up Baby" at the NewYorker Movie Facebook Club

Review of "the Snowman"