Strains Credibility, Soup
Whenever the culture wars take center stage, I start seeing closet cases under every bed (in those storage bins that slide out, so they’re still in something closetlike). It just wraps a moral scold’s whole deal up in a nice little package, y’know? But that’s too reductionist, and it’s not like there’s anything inherently wrong with being a big huge queen, and yet some images won’t be denied their due, so with my apologies to Michael Medved and his, I’m sure, more than satisfied wife, here he is trying to resist going to town on an ersatz cock.
Sorry, had to get that out of the way. Okay, so his review of the Oscars is here, and long story short, he did not like that dog-licking-its-balls joke, not one bit, mister, but he found the night overall heartening for conservatives. Because they’re Francophiles, ‘member? Anyway, he’s apparently never heard an acceptance speech before, he thinks thanking your spouse along with the cast and crew is a) rare and b) like voting for Prop 8.
Also, he spends the first half of the piece praising an action flick that’s supposedly terrible (as of this writing Act of Valor is at 30% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, but with an 86% positive audience rating, so yeah, terrible), mostly to contrast its success with the disappointing box-office receipts racked up by The Hurt Locker.
The new film views sacrifice and service as heroic (if occasionally tragic), while the Oscar winner from two years ago emphasized the ugliness and brutality of combat. The sharply contrasting ticket sales make it clear which point of view the public prefers.
I’ve spent the better part of my day trying to tease out how, exactly, the above snippet comprises two separate points of view, but the best I can come up with is, maybe Medved thinks heroism’s best suited for low-stakes situations? There’s a Chekovian elegance to that, certainly, but I’m gonna go ahead and assume that he, like most on the right, views ambiguity as some kind of personal attack. You’d think a professional critic would have a more sophisticated take on the filmic arts than my cats do on the issue of coffee grinders, but what can you do.
It’s true that the movie offers little in the way of nuance or shades of gray, but for many of us who pay close attention to the ongoing efforts of elite counterterror units, the daily struggle against some of the most depraved and monstrous forces on earth is indeed a clear-cut battle of good versus evil.
I would posit that an elite counterterror unit whose ongoing efforts you can pay close attention to isn’t very good at its job. Dude, if you’ve been binging on 24 DVDs, just say that. We won’t think any less of you, which isn’t an encouragement so much as an explanation of how Y-axes work.
Eventually he gets around to the Oscars themselves; he’s pleasantly surprised that the night’s festivities were not, as in the past, a 3-hour celebration of sodomy, communism, and out-of-wedlock birth (young women take note: that lifestyle is nowhere near as glamorous as Precious would have you believe).
Expressing gratitude to a spouse at a moment of personal triumph may not constitute an act of valor, exactly, but it represents something of a surprise coming from an industry not known for its wholesome and lasting relationships.
Perhaps the winners of this year’s most prestigious Oscars can send a healthy message to their colleagues and to the rest of the country—
That marriage is boring and interminable and your wife can’t wait to cheat on you with some dude with a foreign accent and 5 o’clock shadow? I dunno, I might be bringing my own baggage to this.
People bust conservatives’ chops for their tendency to blow pop-cultural moments up into mass societal issues, but I envy them that. I could really use a political worldview that affords me the illusion of a unified theory of everything. As it is, all I came away from the telecast with was wonder and awe at how they managed to make it appear as though Emma Stone was interacting directly with Caesar from Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Talk about indistinguishable from magic!
I realize this post has been disjointed and seemingly without purpose, but now I’ll tie all the disparate threads together and present you with my conclu…
(orchestra music swells)