Saturday, April 04, 2009

Men and boys

James Bowman:

"I Love You Man"

The idea here is perhaps that a man needs a friend to supply him with an excuse to stop being a man and regress to adolescence. That's why, at one level, the film is all about manhood. But it is a freelancer's manhood -- manhood cut loose from its social dimension and the honor culture that goes with it and, therefore, something that kids are free to make up as they go along. "I'm a man, Peter. I have an ocean of testosterone flowing through my veins," says Sydney on one occasion when he is confronted by a man who has stepped in his dog's feces, which he leaves to foul the public footways on principle. Turning on the man aggressively and scaring him away, he blames "society" for trying to arrest his aggressive impulses. "The truth is we are animals, and we have to let it out sometimes."

Later, after a similar confrontation with a bodybuilder, Sydney turns tail and runs for his life. So much for his lovingly tended aggressive impulses. There's not even any attempt to hide the fact that his various rationalizations for bad behavior are merely nonsensical excuses for an adolescent delight in bad manners as a token of personal authenticity

Jonah Goldberg:

‘Taken’: Patriarchal Porn

Again, I was taken with “Taken,” but you can be sure that some post-modern, critical-whatever-studies types will hate this movie, what with the not-too-subtle “Death Wishy” attacks on non-Americans and the patriarchal revenge fantasy of it all. This is “Thelma and Louise” for fathers.

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