Bad meaning good

This week I unsubscribed from Mark Kermode’s weekly 5 Live podcast. I’ve recommended it before on here,  but with his ridiculous rant about Superbad, in which the dread spectre of Andrea Dworkin was raised (now there’s an idea for a horror film), it’s become clear that he has lost touch with reality and is plainly stuck in orbit around Planet Kermode, a cold, dark, distant sphere in some far off galaxy currently being sucked into a black hole.

Now I accept that  Superbad is not to everyone’s taste – an elderly couple walked out of the screening I was at after ten minutes (what on Earth did they think they were sitting down to?) – and that’s fine, it’s all about personal taste, but this film is either, at best, ‘the comedy of the year’ or, at worst, an okay teen romp with too much bad language. I don’t think anyone in the world but the hysterical Kermode thinks it is a vile piece of mysoginist evil penned by the hot new writing team of Peter Sutcliffe   and Jack the Ripper.

Several other Britcrits have weighed in against the film, though (without going to the lengths of judging it by the exacting standards of an insane misandrist).  Joe Queenan denounced the whole spate of films that dare to be about men in his Guardian piece recently. You can read it here, but if you want to save time, just put on Joe Jackson’s  ‘Is She Really Going Out With Him?’ He was whining about the same thing 30 years ago but at least you can hum along to it.

Judd Apatow is behind most of these films (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Superbad), but there are others in the ladcom genre (I just made that up) that precede it, like High Fidelity and Shaun of the Dead.

The OTT response to these films by the feMANists is clearly all about political correctness. They viciously attack these films because they believe they contravene PC views of what constitutes masculinity.

I guess if you’re a serious film critic who’s spent most of his adult life talking loudly about male chauvinism within earshot of women in the desperate hope that they will sleep with you, it’s very threatening to see women attracted to men who don’t resort to such underhand methods to impress them; men who are comfortable with their sexuality (that’s right, I said it).

You see, it’s just not on to depict men as anything other than morons (unless they’re gay men, or they belong to an ethnic minority). We live in a world where men are the only minority it’s okay to publicly ridicule. It’s so okay we even do it to ourselves. We’re like black comedians in the 1970s telling racist jokes.

Look at every ad on telly: we are losers, idiots, morons; everything about us is pathetic, weak, dim-witted, slow, but above all we are ‘sad’. Everything about our sexuality that distinguishes us from women is ‘sad’. Our interests are ‘sad’, our hobbies are ‘sad’, our sexuality is ‘sad’. And it’s okay to say this because we rule the world and are fair game.

It’s true. When I’m not out boozing with my sad mates  I’m hosting World Patriarchal Order meetings at my flat to plot  our continued dominance over the female race (this stuff doesn’t just run itself, you know), although it’s sometimes difficult because my Jewish flatmate often needs it for his World Zionist Conspiracy get togethers.

The irony of all this is that films like Superbad, 40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, High Fidelity and Shaun of the Dead all have an anti-male message at their heart. Yes, they deal with the world of male cameraderie and portray it sympathetically, but the message of all these movies is Ditch Your Mates And Surrender To The Girl, or, as Joe Queenan puts it,  ‘the excruciating process of putting one’s pathetic male friends into cold storage and getting serious about a romantic liaison’ (all women have the wisdom of Yoda, remember, and all men are sad, that’s the dogma).

Look at the end of Shaun of the Dead: the message is reject your mate who’s stood by you for years and shack up with a whiny, complaining cow because that’s the mature thing to do… oh, and keep your mate as a chained-up retard in the garden shed for those occasional half-hours when she lets you out to play.

And this is supposed to represent the kind of maturity a man aspires to? (I still love Shaun of the Dead, though).

You’d think the feMANists would approve of these films. But they don’t. And that’s because there’s a contradiction in every one of them. They may be about ditching your mates in the long run, but they also celebrate the joys of cameraderie in the process, and that’s the real crime.

So even though these films instruct you to ditch your male friends, they can’t help revealing just what it is that makes male friendship so worthwhile.

If you believe that male sexuality is natural and has its place in society, then you’ll probably laugh at Superbad, which is nothing more than a humorous, engaging portrayal of frustrated teenage masculinity. But if you believe that male sexuality is something inherently odious, as these critics clearly do, you will probably launch into an hysterical diatribe about it.

It is, however, possible to enjoy a work of art whilst disagreeing with its politics I’ve listened to enough Wagner and seen enough Leni Riefenstahl and read enough Trotsky to know this. So how about reviewing a film according to how it works as a film, not according to whether it meets your idea of what’s politically correct? Because if we go that way we might as well all be waving little red books at each other.

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