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Review :: Gender
“How Do You Know” is a real cat shit low ball of a movie.
by Mark Mack
21 Jan 2011
James L. Brooks’ new movie “How Do You Know” is a real cat shit of a low ball. This “propaganda” movie is a fairytale that starts out as: …Once upon a time there lived an insulated, highly paid, professional straw-blonde pitcher (Wilson or Matty) who lived like a prince in a castle—that is a posh, high-rise penthouse. How many movie reviews noted in this movie patterned the willingness to suggest blonde men are less sophisticated, such as less well read (notice all the books in George Rudd’s dive after his innocence fell from the mighty towers of finance—whereas Matty Wilson’s penthouse was straight from a sterile and soulless shopping mall—just a kind of manikin factory).
Please forward to Arts/Entertainment of the “alternative” news movie review: free sample: (as example of how the movie industry actually promotes prejudice while pretending to counter it).
James L. Brooks’ new movie “How Do You Know” is a real cat shit of a low ball—as he has Owen Wilson, as Matty Reynolds, a never-too-conscientious, self-centered autistic, but still capable of relating a hope-you-feel-better story, interact as such to Reese Witherspoon. Since Reese, as Lisa Jorgenson, didn’t make the cut for the U.S. Olympic Softball team she might appreciate a shtik joke about some disgruntled, x-professional, baseball player sending cat shit, by mail, to the manager that fired him.
This “propaganda” movie is a fairytale that starts out: …Once upon a time there lived an insulated, highly paid, professional straw-blonde pitcher (Wilson/Matty) who lived like a prince in a castle—a posh, high-rise penthouse, in which, for example, the bathroom was as big as a kitchen. And this movie really is a, more or less, a juvenile fairytale—although at times it’s surprisingly funny—but for sure written by a non-Teutonic, American-Jewish screenplay writer, who has an attitude about America’s Teutons as more plastic. So although the main characters have bodacious, adult bodies, they act out childlike characters with childlike fantasies—formulaic “stock” characters we have come to understand.
Blonde Matty, as pretty Prince, has a $14 million dollar baseball pitcher position with Washington Nationals, and according to Brook’s story (as both writer and producer) Matty is not really “connected” with anyone, except as he lives self-centrically in a sports star’s success castle. But most noteworthy however, as we are led to believe this male, “bland,” sex object of a jock “processes” women in and out of his high-rise castle as if women lined up outside his door. And even though we are not privy to his expertise at picking women up, we learn he nevertheless has a closet of souvenirs to send the ladies away when he’s through with them. (How is that for caricature?)
Of course, James Brooks had to select an American sport that Caucasian men engage, even if the most pastel of sport would have been golf, had it not been for the fact a golf scenario might too readily trigger recent memories of Tiger Woods cheating on his Swedish Cadillac parked in his own driveway, and thus subtracting from the “stereotype” as attempted “prejudice” that blonde men get so much easy attention from attractive women. (You see Mr. Brooks has a penchant for wooing attractive women away from “unworthy” blonde men in his movies—remember his Broadcast News movie, in which blonde William Hurt was gaining too easy attention from a woman another Jewish-American actor, Albert Brooks, then of the mainstream media biz, wanted to date?
James Brooks’ calculated lie then was to portray that relatively shallow blonde men easily get photogenic news broadcasting jobs because of their good looks when any reality check shows the opposite true—that blonde women more easily get such jobs (which includes just about any PR or tip related job).
Whereas, this latest schmaltz attempt to give the same theme, he chooses a baseball background of a movie, that equally portrays a prejudice against “jocks,” in general, as insensitive and spoiled, but especially as he tries to suggest that blonde men are the “stereotype” sport stars getting laid at the penthouse. (This must be why this movie setting didn’t bother to go to a basketball arena or football stadium because it would not have been quite as easy to portray good ole boy network of Angle Saxon male bimbos deciding: “How Do You Know…” (…whether you are in love…) when one fellow troglodyte figures it must be “…when you are wearing condoms with the ‘other’ women you sleep with.” (Must be something there?!)
If the sport had been basketball the storyline could have been besmirched with a reality of the ethno-ethnicity, of say, a Magic Johnson hanging around—even if almost always true blonde cheerleaders are seldom in short supply at such games. (Hockey would have been a bit too masculine and then you would cross the great divide of those tracks of the poorer side of town, which equally subtracts from the idea of the blonde being the forever stereotyped as “rich” and “spoiled” kid (cause never could we entertain the idea that ‘ethnic’ males and brunettes are living in wealthy neighborhoods—even if plenty marry blonde women and move there?).
Still this movie is a kind of revenge against popular high school jocks—as they are just insensitive and self-absorbed studs. (It’s similar in theme to The Breakfast Club high-school genre movie in which the “forever-act-like-jerk” brunette troublemaker still got the girl despite his being a prick to everyone—because why, he was not some privileged kid (you know the greasers are always so much more real and soulful than the richer, blonder, crowd))? Pretty In Pink played on the same stereotypes.
But the fact is these constantly hackneyed stereotypes have real consequences in the real world because too many people readily believe this prejudicial propaganda. There are a lot of ethnic groups, Italians, Greeks, Spaniards, etc., who come to believe these same lies about how “vapid” are blonde people—as if no other people were such. This is a subtle but consistent under-the-radar line that any bonding between blonde men and women can and should be challenged as somehow not worthy.
But there is always a scheme for Something About Mary even if she is a bit daffy and play along? Whereas, if she does come across as cool or distant—well then it is just that shallow surface—there is little depth to her psyche? Nevertheless, it is true that it does not matter, sometimes, whether a blonde woman is smart—she still climbs the social and economic ladder and get more breaks—even if she was dumb. But that doesn’t make the average blonde dumb—but it mean she is more scrutinized to fit what people want to see).
In this current retread of a movie theme we also naturally get a handsome “brunette” prince (perhaps considered even more handsome by women who like the tall-dark-and-handsome fashion set as brunette men are often in style in the movie industry) played by Paul Rudd, as silly George. George is the boss’ son of a high-powered finance firm. This firm is also ensconced in the mighty towers of a castle skyscraper.
But George, although a big shot in his dad’s private finance company, is mysteriously let go because he is suddenly under investigation for fraud by federal investigators. Yet the unreality here in the tale of a story is that George Rudd’s persona, as a supposed corporate executive, carries no authoritative weight, that is he has little in the way of the tough, decision-making guy with steely moxie one would expect from the top of the corporate ladder. Unlike his dad, as played by the ever-seething and cantankerous Jack Nickolson, he is just this contending prince born into the right socioeconomic “cred,” but he has more a youth’s soul.
So charmer George is a sweetheart who manages to escape all emotional wounds as he literally runs away from being emotionally distraught. Somehow the world of finance has not tarnished his soul one iota. More importantly we are “not” invited to characterize him as any kind of spoiled, rich kid, even though his father can afford a whole bevy of high priced lawyers. Rather his “innocence” is real romance, and if he were in a sex scene you “know” he would be making hot and heavy love (unlike the disassociated, sexless, sex scenes with Wilson and Witherspoon lay abstractly lay dispassionately prattling in conversation—that suggests playboy Matty, despite the fact he manages to sleep with a lot of women, nevertheless is rather naïve about women. (Go figure it to be so realistic).
Whereas brunette George as the real prince is so caring and attentive he just finds himself, well not just enchanted but “infatuated” just to listen to Witherspoon’s every coo and boo. Never mind that we learn little about blonde bombshell Lisa, such as her hobbies, interests, opinions, politics, etc., that is stuff that composes a fleshed out personality (save that she doesn’t like to be rushed in opening up her presents). She is just a hell of a pretty jock—and equally “nice”. And yeah she is not living in a castle of wealth and is ready to bounce back to the real world with good attitude—so she at least has some maturity.
But! apparently it is OK to be a female jock—no sexism here—that is “she” as recent career softball player still is very “worthy” of male attention, even if she seems clueless about who is really “right” for her emotional needs (and of course there is always a Mr. Right somewhere—because the trick is to set up a straw man game, which changes the focus to the weaknesses of another “stock stereotype” rather then really question if one self is all that worthy of relationship with a quality other soul mate).
After all, isn’t it “always” about who is right for Miss Blonde Bombshell—who seldom places second in the Hollywood celebrity parade or People Magazine, or in modeling agencies, or in the pornography industry? (And granted there are always plenty of other “women” willingly to stereotype female blondes as “dumb,” as some never quite come around to realizing that perhaps the men they want attention from, that is those all goggy-eyed to Marylyn Monroe, might not be all that smart themselves—so much easier to blame all the dumbness to her rather than him? (After all shouldn’t men just know how special you are even if you are not blonde? And shouldn’t everyone know that whoever feels resentment neglect deserves attention and love?) Or could it possibly that just because a blonde might be dumb it still doesn’t prove another is so genius or a worthy soul—does it?
And certainly we are not going to question Hugh Heffner’s penthouse lifestyle or have any question about his narcissism—after all he is not some beach bum living in a fairyland? When you engage in a purple Prince production fantasy you don’t question the worthiness of the “…girl in red corvette…” rather you just know she’s bored with the “…jockeys before me…,” (understanding rich corvette girl is not likely from the hood—but rather from suburbia of wealth—and likely, you can pretty much guess, Prince is singing about some Caucasian type, so being an anglophile or having a hankering for Anglo-Saxon women, (or “girls” because some music genre’s don’t recognize “women”) is good then—no double standard here?).
Still one wonders just how did “Lisa” Witherspoon and “Matty” Wilson came to be so great with sex as this movie makes clear via conversation—that is with its jock on jock schlock—because the poor gal has never dated any guy save fellow jocks—which suggests then she is not really all that worldly? Did they secretly watch the Internet to study anything from California’s porn industry, which although has tons of blonde females does not equally sponsor anything close to the same ratio of blonde men—save maybe for the Sacha Cohen’s gay Bruno bombshell crowd. Cohen’s in-your-face parody again was really another, “…how dumb are you Americans once you leave the East Coast (irrespective of hair color)?’ And don’t you just know it—many of those suburban white kids mysteriously have a need to “act” black with their ghetto rap personas and aggressive “in-your-ear” aggression—funny how that works?
Still Witherspoon’s Lisa is not really all that much of a jock. She might have more awareness levels clicking but herein she comes across as a “girl” with pink ribbons in her hair. Women jocks are a little on the androgynous side and perhaps do tend to have higher sex drives. But Ms. Clueless seems to sleep with men she hardly knows emotionally—yet she is suppose to be a female role model for what feminist crowd one wonders? (And this is not calling her a whore because this is not the kind of judgmental attitude we are aiming for while reviewing this supposed “emotionally-with-it” movie, that is with all kinds of politically correct sensitivity as such—that is: “How do you know when you are in love?”)
And perhaps Wilson and Witherspoon really are not the sharpest knives in the drawer; but many actors and actresses are “made” with lines and roles written by screenwriters who are not that physically attractive or particularly young—so we might wonder: 1) Why do movies like Legally Blonde not more directly address “serious” animosity some blonde women face from other women—as if it was never a real race-like issue based on physical features—even if this topic was superficially the underlying premise? And secondly, why is it people like Owen Wilson are routinely hired to play men who are handsome but not quite in touch, like his stiff, mono-dimensional, role in Meet the Parents, whereas compared to Ben Stiller’s multi-layered role as the “sensitive” and “humane” male nurse?
Nevertheless, it must be the blue-eyed blondes that live in protected universe—something relatively easy to sell in a culture of low self-esteem? But in the documentary Inside Job about the mortgage crisis, even many of those rich, con artists at Wall Street were “paying” for expensive hookers. Is this because not enough of them were blonde enough to have them lining up to process through a factory door? (And small comfort this phony movie will provide to those who sleep outside as homeless, or to those still in homes but feel discontent anyway and are ready to “project” their fingers elsewhere as to whom to blame about life’s romance’s disappointments.)
Yet the sad fact remains that very seldom do you see a movie that pares a straw blonde female with a straw blonde male—and the minute it seems to happen someone wants to suggest the blonde male is not possibly worthy. And this propaganda works because when you walk through almost any major U.S. city you are more likely see blonde women dating men of other ethnicities except blonde men of their own light hair color—that is as light as their own. (But some might have actually made the rounds being so much in the limelight?) You don’t see Lady Gaga with a dance team of blonde men stealing her limelight of a halo. You don’t see phony blonde Madonna dating blonde men, etc. (Nevertheless its OK and understandable for “other” women, who are not blonde, to get miffed and resentful—why is that?)
And equally it was OK for Sarah Silverman to joke about Paris Hilton sucking jail bars painted as penises to her face in public to humiliate her? That was OK? After all Hilton is a rich, blonde, bitch from some high castle; and granted she may be easy to dislike or feel jealous; but no one who is truly superior needs to make someone else inferior. (Or why was there such glee when some hacker victimized her by stealing her private cell phone information as target of hostility? Where was there any outrage as going to far?) Furthermore why is there something foul about a woman performing fellatio in the first place—is it bad to be sexual?
And why is it “seldom” a question as to whether it is the woman who gets “lucky” when the woman happens to be a blonde bomb? Certainly there is plenty of self-absorption in this society. In this real world even going into a coffee shop you likely see self-absorbed, autistic, people so into their lab-tops and books they show little interest in social interaction.
And speaking of self-centered forms of autism, it’s not like there are not any snobs out there of every sort? Besides beauty and sex-objects snobs, you have food snobs, fashion snobs, job status snobs, health snobs, darkness of Gothic snobs, and even literature snobs—you know those readers who think brains should rank? Still it seems to, at least a few of us, that women “too” vie in such ranks of snobbery—even seemingly more so—but a movie is not going to go there?
And assume brains should account for something. Why is it then that scores from worldwide studies of reading levels suggest that people in Teutonic countries of northern Europe rank pretty well—yet here in America it’s not the same? You don’t see blondes in bookstores and libraries? Could it be America has always had a distrust of the intellect, with an undercurrent of anti-intellectualism, and you are projected as a “nerd” and then suspected of not being well rounded in the departments of emotion and social awareness (maybe unless you’re a Jewish intellectual)?
Besides, in today’s real world, men are often assumed to have a chink in their armor—unless they “prove” themselves humanely otherwise (even if not too readily given much of a chance). It’s not like women, on average, just run out of their way as they as if dying to meet you. No social aloofness out there? Oh no, not at all. Or, for example, if you are male looking to meet someone over the Internet, you are expected to provide a background investigation just to have a cup of coffee—for fear you might be criminal or looser—but hey no profiling or female cynicism here huh? Why doesn’t anyone in the film industry address some of the issues of prejudice against men these days—cause they are a “lot” of people who don’t live in castles?
Or if women are so “equal” now then why aren’t more setting more of a pace of chasing down dates rather than still dressing like sex objects and hoping the success objects from finance city come to them? In these last decades of guilt tripping to white male domination I personally do not know of many women spending much of their money on men—or even just allowing for some generosity of spirit—such as a spirit to let a guy be something other than a stock presumption. Would be nice if some could realize a person has some capacity for creativity, original thought, personal resource, etc., own their own wits, rather than relying on the prejudicial messages from the movie industry.
If Melisa Harris-Perry in her Nation article The Misunderestimation of Sarah Palin can argue, from Jennifer Pozner’s book Reality Bites Back that mass media, including entertainment, are “…our most common agent of socialization, shaping and informing our collective ideas about people, politics and public policy..” then it can be argued that prejudicial stereotypes matter.
There are plenty of indications in this society to suggest some women just don’t want to know or interact with most men—let alone have sex with them. And apparently it is easier to think oneself as emotionally, socially and morally superior rather than as equal—especially with all the TV crime analysis stories out there that reinforce trouble and distrust everywhere regarding men? And especially with the capitalizing on every horrendous crime to suggest there is the potential of “terrorist” criminality on every block and behind every cyberspace motive—so Big Sister helps to continue to create a Stazi state and destroy our Second Amendment—because you just know they would never concentrate camp this country.
Had this movie How Do You Know been offensive to blacks no one would question a critical review. Equally this would be true so for “any” minority including the ever-hyper capacity to see anti-Semitism. But when it comes to blonde men then it is a different game all together, because although this movie got trashed—as deservedly so—reviews did “not” address any notice of a stereotyping pattern based on Teutonic features—male or female—and they never do—at least when it comes to any overly hackneyed characterization of the rich and spoiled kid being brawn but no brain. Yes, Brookes lost his fastball and the movie is “cute” going nowhere or full of sweet nothings, etc., but no mention of prejudice.
Truly, how many movie reviews noted this movie’s willingness to suggest blonde men are less sophisticated, such as less well read (didn’t you notice all the books in George Rudd’s dive after his innocence fell from the mighty towers of finance—even if you really didn’t get the impression he was much of a reader or intellectual type—whereas Matty Wilson’s penthouse was straight from a sterile and soulless shopping mall—just a kind of manikin factory).
And of course it didn’t matter whether Lisa Witherspoon read or not because compatibility issues don’t affect emotional alliances in the long run do they—that is when the dance is centered on her being a sunflower? She is just some “thing” as a trophy to win over—and then you get a divorce later on? But how do you know?
Rudd’s George actually had an interesting dilemma—whether to go to prison for 2 or 3 years so his father, as a repeat fraud offender, would not do 20 years. This could have been an interesting story with some depth and development—but apparently that was not the motive—and motive seems to be a key element here. Of course George fretted hard on his dilemma of taking he hit and concluded that he would “if” he did not get the girl so obviously right for him. This is to say with all his caring and consideration he apparently had some of his own emotional baggage invested—even though we really do not learn that much of about his personality structure as the dark prince either—that is as not “fleshed out.” (But then all you need be is smarted than a self-centered blonde playboy who doesn’t really care about women as human beings so that doesn’t take much of a story.)
Maybe we should take a clue from George and realize that one’s life is just one makeover away from “narcissistically” presuming one is “better” than the next guy that comes along—that is to say isn’t it narcissistic to presume oneself is the prince above the frog based on one’s own characteristics as compared to our prejudices of another—or does that just work with minorities, such as in the rainbow coalition that has somehow managed to paint white males, at least the blonder group, as somehow monochromatic? (And whose fault is it athletes get paid so well being America’s bread and circus of mass distraction from the fascistic downfall of the American empire?)
By the way, how many diamond studded jewels did men get for Christmas when paper fiat is likely to crash so that it is not even worth make-believe Play-Dough? (They should have told the truth to the pregnant woman in the movie (played by Kathryn Hahn), early on in her pregnancy, that it isn’t a “worthy” idea to bring a child into this human mess of an American culture—especially with all its presumptuousness—or is that “realizing” something?)
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