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Bad Teacher Movie Review: Alternative Media
by Paul Penn
03 Aug 2011
Bad Teacher is “gratifying” as eye-candy and verbal shock. It is an enjoyable movie precisely because it is not lame—at least not as lame as many of its movie reviews. And in the final analysis there is little subtly to this dark comedy—how might we say—as Andrew Breitbart’s description of a certain Anthony Wiener cellphone photo he so nobly withheld as: “…beyond the beyond…” There is nothing wrong with comparing the “psychology” of this new release to a maybe-to-be-released movie about Anthony Weiner’s downfall and destruction within America’s misandrynous climate. Brain cells are not what Bad Teacher is about—has the American movie industry produced a movie that has enhanced anyone’s brain cells?
Bad Teacher Movie Review: Alternative Media
By Paul Penn
Bad Teacher’s “in-your-face” newspaper advertisement of sex-pot teacher with yellow sticky posty-note on her red teacher’s apple yelling: “Eat Me!” pretty much says it all. It’s a blonde babe’s twitter tweet of a photo op that only an American “business” enterprise can get away with in these randy days of Weiner-gate; and so this is one “lesson” we will come to behold.
Bad Teacher is “gratifying” as eye-candy and verbal shock. It is an enjoyable movie precisely because it is not lame—at least not as lame as many of its movie reviews. It has some sarcastic bite. So despite any begrudging pudgy/ frowsy critic’s lack of appreciation for more worthy moments (of course not due to any jealousy of Diaz’ “ass”ets) the movie does function as a provocative fantasy—especially if your heart is still somewhere on the adolescent side of life (for shame!). At least some men and some boys will find “entertainment” value in hormones tickled a bit—even if this is what makes others mad—the idea that men find a “natural” value in prurient titillation from “physical” manifestation such as that of a camera eye-googling a woman’s body—irrespective of whether there is any awareness or appreciation of her personality and psychological conditions. (How deplorable boys don’t grow up to become saints and ascetic angels? No doubt they sat in sexist committee and choice that aspects of their reality.)
Yet more to the point, and not just an aside, this show is merely “another” example of how education movies in general bespeaks of an American “culture” that never knows how to teach such a screwed up civilization as that of the United States of America. There hasn’t been any movie about school that has actually taught anyone how to think or learn.
And in the final analysis there is little subtly to this dark comedy—how might we say—as Andrew Breitbart’s description of a certain Anthony Wiener cellphone photo he so nobly withheld as: “…beyond the beyond…” Its Howard Stern’s formula for pubescent eroticism—only the real shock value is in the blatant lines Cameron Diaz fusillades (there ought be a bitch of the year award).
We note that Bad Teacher could never have been so American-apple-appetizing had the main character been a male teacher playing a seductive and inappropriate part while functioning as junior-high schoolteacher. An American audience would have questioned that idea feeling rather uncomfortable, but hey no double standard here to the American psyche. (It’s not like some men already would never think of taking any job related to children because of the constant barrage of sexual offender news in the mainstream media—and its not like there is no prejudice to assume men more criminal and sexually offensive?)
And frankly there is nothing wrong with comparing the “psychology” of this new release to a maybe-to-be-released movie about Anthony Weiner’s downfall and destruction within America’s misandrynous (male-phobic and male-hating) climate. The contrast of these two “exhibitionist” episodes are striking—but then again it was not obvious as grist-for-the-mill for America’s mainstream media culture when it comes to movie reviews. Nevertheless the Weiner story did become the number one looksy for voyeuristic viewers prior to his forced and humiliating retirement. (And yet the “poke” joke in Bad Teacher is more pants poignant than photos of Weiner’s skivvies. Here we have unambiguous evidence of a 7th grade teenage boy’s erection while watching Cameron Diaz (as Miss temptress-teach Elizabeth Halsey) do her evil best to imitate Paris Hilton washing a car as strip tease actress at tad lascivious.)
Normally there should not be considered a negative to recognize eroticism as natural. And you know Cameron Diaz can arouse interest—even if her acting would have been slack—which it was not. She played the part and satisfied the film editors and film investors. Furthermore this movie is full of good acting from the main characters—despite nitpicking shots slung around by some critics—such as assuming the actors are supposed to be partly themselves or their pasts—like how coy or nebbish was Justin Timberlake in his goody two shoes role. (Stock stereotypes sometimes work even if not meant to be a classic about an English class.)
Diaz does a marvelous job playing a jerk (as we are less prone to use the word “jerk” to describe women—even if self-hating—still the vernacular jerk seems most apropos). Yet still it is noteworthy to garner that given Miss Halsey’s rather “consistent” career of acting like a jerk throughout pretty much the whole movie—in the end she still gets a man and she still has a job! Furthermore she still walks into her new counselor job wearing still too tight and still too short as provocative clothing. (This must be art imitating life—because blonde women often enough do get “extra” breaks—so this too seems another “lesson” to reckon, or so it seems, as we are quickly, if not inexplicably, left with a simplistic, happy ending—as so Hollywood and male-permissive.
Yet it is refreshing to watch the beautiful blue-eyed goddess act cruel and cold—because that is a male experience one can relate—as opposed to the ever-so-nice and tolerant “cutesy” girl Cameron has often played—as not much really dangerous. (Surely she has had to deal with uninvited advances at times during her career—or like how a certain blonde porn star might be solicited by a horny U.S. Congressman—you just kind of know Diaz could not have been kind to all her admirers at all times?) There must be a dark side there somewhere and here we can begin to see such possibility.
But the character Diaz plays here as Elizabeth, had the fond gym teacher (Jason Segel as Russell) known, if he had doubled to teach health and mental health, was recognition of a serious personality disorder—even if this bitch makes the movie edgy in Miss Elizzy’s hostility to all people. Her social IQ is seriously retarded and her moral IQ is equally damaged. (But damn she is such a fricken hotty and a fast talking sociopath.) No wonder movie critics were slow to “fail” this work—given that America’s mainstream media’s culture equally has difficulty distinguishing moral issues and stories worthy of reporting and “not” censored.
Nevertheless we all have our biases. It is not hard to imagine one might have a special place, in at least the lust part of one’s heart muscle, if not the fleetingly less developed love side, for Cameron Diaz—knowing, if nothing else, she is too has a Sharon Stone flash point. And after all what is wrong with being an unabashed lecher and having certain erotic desires—even in this mind-muck of a society expects a man’s career to ignobly and shamefully disintegrate if he so much as gets “dirty” with his cell phone (that is disregarding his cheating on his wife which is really not our business but his wife’s)?
Cameron Diaz is that kind of women a man might wish he could take home to meet the parents as some serious catch—like a Cadillac deluxe—and not simply as sex object. After all like any good looking Anglo-Saxon woman would more readily get a high-tip waitress or bar job because she can speak and write English, and act civilized and courtly courteous for the public—with or without extra diamonds— she therefore has the right credentials. (And she might even have a brain cell or two.)
But brain cells are not what Bad Teacher is about—even if some missed this point entirely. (Has the American movie industry produced a movie that has enhanced anyone’s brain cells? One is hard pressed to remember. Certainly not Michelle Pheiffer in “Dangerous Minds.”) Nevertheless misfit Lizzy Halsey, despite showing such movies in her classroom instead of teaching, doesn’t have a clue what school is suppose to be about. For her it is just a job to make money.
Ironically David Brooks of the New York Times recently wrote a piece on Diane Ravitch (the nation’s most vocal and knowledgeable educational historian) who argued that “… teaching is a humane art built upon loving relationships between teachers and students…” (that is while Brooks summarizes her arguments against America’s “testing” mentality). Nevertheless testing and scores is an important part to Bad Teacher’s plot of competition between teachers.
What we have is a crass gold digger who teaches to make money so she can afford a boob job as “her” motivation for doing this kind of work. Nevertheless!!! she finds more motivation within herself to perform the job better when “extra” financial incentives can be gained—like earning an extra big paycheck prize if her class does best passing the state exam! (Now there’s an argument for money-grubbers out there—cause don’t yah just know it takes financial incentives for good people to come into the teaching profession! One simply adopt the psychology of corporate marketing vice presidents looking for sales people who are “money motivated”. And as long as they have lust for money you will find the right talent. (At least this is the intellectually bankrupt American answer—passed around by politicians and people wanting to decimate any comfortable living standards of teachers they feel are being paid “too” much on the public dole. (Don’t they realize our tax revenues ought keep going to banksters and investors of the military industrial complex?) Never-the-less, this subject of a school’s educational policy and political idiotology didn’t come up in any reviews I read?) And granted, this porn-light movie seemingly never meant to include any deep philosophical points. Still its creators did touch on one of the big debates of American education today and tomorrow.
A reason critics didn’t notice because they incestuously compare movies to other movies rather than movies to real life; and they were too busy “plagiarizing” references to Bad Santa—as if many just happened to think the same thoughts—and clearly there was some similarity but wasn’t there anything else worth noting…).
By gleaning how this work was classified, that is by merely noting “other” movie trailers advertised prior to the showing of this same genre movie we get a pretty good idea of how this movie is positioned within a market. Likely you too will see movie trailers for other upcoming shows that feature explicit sleaze jokes, plenty of cheap violence and cars crashing, or Bucky “buckteeth” Larson with his small penis shtick who ridiculously wants to imitate his parents and become a porn star (imagine the enlightenment and genius motivation for these originations).
Then also ask yourself what analyses we have come upon regarding Nazi Germany’s entertainment culture as you watch cigar-girl Miss Halsey in her black outfit and red-hot lipstick. But it’s OK—this is the great and late United States—we don’t do anything immoral such as “normalize” the essence of torture. (Besides no matter what Cameron Diaz does she still is tolerable as a blonde beast for such “brunettes” as Fredrick Nietzsche. You remember Nietzsche—the man that Hitler quoted and admired because he discussed how the splendid blonde beast could cruelly destroy other weaker creatures as unworthy to live?)
Movie theaters obviously are not in charge of what art is made but we need to think about what is being offered. They went wrong when they came up with the popcorn idea in which some people are forced to listen to others chomping on food while they are trying to listen to a movie. Then came the blatancy of the nacho chips. And now despite the fact we pay good money to see movies we are subject to more commercials. So what about all these lowlife offerings from the greatest America?
How are even adults suppose to make sense of what is permissible or not, given the enormity of different standards given to “money-making” enterprises versus the suppose sanctimonious standards of the news media that is every ready to questions the “motives” of others—yet the motives of the media itself at “best” are dubious and at worst a lot more criminal than most realize?
Perhaps every high school English teacher and college Humanities professor should include an analysis of Chris Hedges’ Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle? It seems apropos to quote from a paragraph of one of Mr. Hedge essays on the Internet called “American Illiterate”:
“…The core values of our open society, the ability to think for oneself, to draw independent conclusions, to express dissent when judgment and common sense indicate something is wrong, to be self-critical, to challenge authority, to understand historical facts, to separate truth from lies, to advocate for change and to acknowledge that there are other views, different ways of being, that are morally and socially acceptable, are dying… (with a message to President Obama)…”
Ask yourself since when has the movie industry created a movie about these issues as values as Mr. Chris Hedges claims are our culture’s values?
What does love have to do with it? In reality a blonde beauty like Cameron Diaz can make more than enough money for a boob job in various sex industries and glamour model jobs rather than teaching school? So the “only” seemingly provocative question posed during the showing was: “…How did ‘you’ become such a looser that you ended up teaching school?” (Yet it is funny how some instances in life seem like “teachable” moments no matter what one does for a living?)
For example, normally it’s adolescents who have looming issues in regards fitting into society and self-imagine—such as the size of one’s breasts. (Still it’s somewhat alarming how many adult women get breast implants.) Worst yet big breasts look monstrous and unbecoming—not to mention there is the issue of chronic back pain due to tense back muscles. A truly sophisticated woman would not want such a fetish.
Yet it is sad how much emphasis there is on the physical side of the self as opposed to psychological side and one’s self-esteem. But is this not precisely one role to learning English and how to read—that one can develop one’s mind to give more weight to psychological beauty and awareness?
Or we might ask what kinds of mind-sets would want to make a movie disparaging a young man with buckteeth and a small penis? Will this be some classic like the Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” or Apuleius’ “The Golden Ass?” Is there some redeeming value that one would want to be associated with ridicule, or is it more the equivalent to high school bullies intimidating and teasing those who don’t “measure” up to their adopted standards?
Maybe Bad Teacher could have been not so much a question of bimbo power as a movie about teaching English—reading and writing as verbal and psychological intelligence? And perhaps good English skill is “not” so much about reading esoteric novels and other high-faluencies but rather learning how to read serious subjects like politics and economics—that currently weigh heavily? Why was Miss Halsey not assigning books like Arianna Huffington’s very witty “Pigs At The Trough,” or the more sober work from Kevin Phillips’s “Bad Money”? Or why not teach America’s adults how to read Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” or Naomi Wolf’s “The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot” (or any number of important and eye-openers)?
Probably because if more Americans “could” actually read such works, especially more members of the Tea Parties, and they “did” bother to read such works, we would actually have to worry about real revolutions, and maybe even the reconstitution of the guillotine in places like NYC and Washington D.C. So maybe it is best that we have bread and circus kinds of stuff rather than addressing the national embarrassment of reading and hence thinking?
No wonder Lizzy smokes dope? And no wonder she drinks booze as if just another lackey Hollywood floozy. And no wonder Miss Halsey is just another porn star that explicitly says more uninhibited things than a man whose brain tissue is being served to him on a platter by Hannibal the Cannibal. Not much civility here.
Still with all this never-mind-our-reality culture the movie still seems a treat for our shock jock culture—as unambiguous potty-mouth with a foul mind—violating our sense of decency (something had to earn the C+ grade rating). And even if we don’t get to see Cameron nakedly spread-eagle like the plethora of X rated porn films readily available—scenes still stimulate neuro-peptides and electrical circuits that would register on a CAT scan.
So, in the “same” tone and attitude of this movie let us be blatantly uninhibited for a moment of social exchange. Consider that there is nothing wrong or inappropriate for a person of one gender to get turned on by the eroticism or the “genitalia” of another person, or even of oneself—unless, of course, you happen to have male genitalia—in which case you might encounter such encomiums as “icky” and “distasteful” or read such adjectives and attitudes reiterated in the opinion pages. (After all how could a well-educated Congressman gone so “low” (read “lewd”) as to have had lustful fantasies residing in his heart and pants to the point that he felt a need to share such a reality with others? You just automatically know such an urge had to have come from the lowest of the low places within the reptilian brain—especially in urbane cities like Washington D.C.
Because historically there is no psychological room to imagine one as a sex object with a sex object form of genitalia if male—such as one’s “package” that is automatically classified as obscene—that is “not” to be scene—that is indecent and lewd. That is beyond the beyond as being at best crude. Because according to America’s logic, the erect penis cannot possibly be considered properly a part of one’s humanity—at least not by this self-righteous society. (Even if plenty think it macho that a “big” dick is the trick.)
And so there is another lesson to this review—and that is that “all” forms of dress, all forms of cosmetic, all forms of presentation are in some way styles of exhibitionism—even if not so labeled and fetishized to the “gross” idea of a male with nude erection in public display. The male penis and such an urge became “officially” categorized as clearly something bizarre and abnormal by the “experts” that is those social dogmatists who were so self-assured their theories were reality itself.
Because what could possibly be more “unnatural” than a man gaining an erection, or being excited in some manner, or relating such a reality to some other person within the world? Something has to account for the stereotyped “flasher” (or twitter “tweeter?).
According to our history of “officiated” sexual explanation the male exhibitionist displays some manifestation of unmitigated deviance and danger. Thus all explanations were related to some form of perversion—such as historically explained as a need to shock. So obviously it was some “sick” notion—that is the so-called male exhibitionist.
There couldn’t possibly have been some simple or seemingly more obvious explanation such as trying to excite interest in a sexual encounter? No it had to be some convoluted and psycho-analytical theory from PhDs of one kind or another—even if they were basically airheads bowing to a repressive culture so as to jive with a Judeo-Christian heritage that outlawed erotic notions in general, just like when fossils were discovered they still had to fit within the Bible’s creation story. (And of course there were all the diseases related to masturbation that we too once held as reality based—but hey we accept authoritative explanation don’t we even if we don’t teach students about this historical misjudgment)?
Then Nancy Friday came along and started writing about women’s sexual fantasies. And low and behold women too held, at least occasionally, and expressed such fantasies as exposing themselves like exhibitionists. Still apparently no one realized “most” pornography was exhibitionism, and that despite the fact that many attractive blonde women could have found jobs doing other things they still managed to find employment as strippers and porn stars, etc? The irony of it all is that practically every porn magazine includes explicit crotch shots with legs widely exposed—but hey nothing deviant here—why—because there was a commercial market—and therefore that made it legitimate. That made it less than sick—especially if it featured sexy women.
Imagine, if you will, all the thousands, no rather 10s of thousands, of pornography pictures that have been taken of naked women. Do you think most of these women were hence thinking or feeling how shocking they were going to be as viewed—or how ghastly and frightening—while they were being photographed? Or is it more likely they were narcissistically thinking that “…even though I’m getting paid for this I just know that my viewing audience will find my naked expression admirable and desirable…not least because of my exposed exhibition (as if one’s nakedness is something to be worshipped)?
So apparently we still have this sexist double standard in this society that few are willing to challenge. Yet any psychologist worth his or her salt could realize that worship didn’t need to be sanctioned by some official religious cult. One merely had to act toward something as if it were sacred and special. (But this could not extend to the male penis—save the myth of size is everything—because male genitalia is viewed as something sick and excoriationable—like a false religion.
It’s like the joke some police officers occasionally told—that if the guy is scene “he” is an exhibitionist—but if a woman is scene—then “he” is a peeking tom voyeur—either way “he” is the culprit. (And yet this is not to argue complete psychological symmetry to both genders or motive but rather to note how “less” culpable it seems to be if one is woman in this culture as opposed to a man—even as we “continuously” hear about double standards working against women.)
Take for example a simple and innocent incident. A woman is getting out of her a half block away from a popular tavern in a decent and safe neighborhood and her two girlfriends are equally showing up at the same time and getting out of their car. They are within view if one turns one’s head to see. It is early evening and so visibility is not a problem. The one woman avoids looking at her friends because, as she says to them when they call to her, “… sorry I thought you were men…” (As witness one could intuitively detect “fear” of contact with men, as strangers, that is a prejudice that men should be thought suspicious until proven otherwise.)
This is the environment that men live in today with TV shows like Law and Order regularly trying to “profile” the psychology of deviant and criminal men while women prosecute. The pervasive idea in the media is how untrustworthy men are and how they should be analyzed from every perspective. (Whatever you do don’t have any spontaneous feeling show.) Now every male must be profiled and investigated before worthy of being met—that is especially if met on the Internet. (This emphasis on why women should constantly fear for their lives of course gives no quarter to worrying about men being discriminated against—like the male bartender saying how much easier it is for women to get such jobs irrespective of experience, etc. That’s your lot guys.)
Rape has a lot to do with psychological humiliation—just like when the mainstream media attempts to allege highly embarrassing accusations against a member of society—so much so that one would immediately deny that something took place. This type of “cultural rape” as public humiliation, such as Anthony Weiner’s teary-eyed confession showed us—that it is perfectly acceptable to humiliate others in public under the guise of social justice. So our high-minded politicians and media culture can consider it acceptable for their paparazzi brains to continuously smell for all the dirty laundry fit to print if it will boost Fox News TV ratings.
Whereas Miss Halsey’s one-line humdingers are pure entertainment—and again why because somebody is making money—which is always considered legal and legitimate in the United States of Corporate America.
No hypocrisy. Take a stripper that wants you to “pay” her for a “lap dance” while you’re wearing your pants in the backroom—kind of like faking it in jeans with Justin Timberlake dry running dog style on Diaz’s assets. Yet such a stripper might not “see” this work as any kind of prostitution—because it is “legal” by law. (And frankly prostitution should be legal and held in esteem.) But she somehow manages to act offended if you suggest a lap dance at your house without clothing—even though you don’t say anything about money. (Suddenly you are presumed to be soliciting for an illegal form of prostitution.) And despite the fact that strippers, on average, are more open-minded and more sophisticated than other women are on average—still there are double standards clearly operating. Poor souls that are just trying to make enough money to pay their bills even if from male lust in need. Just ladies of the most ethical thoughts trying to make ends meet. (After all doesn’t “he” realize it is just about the money—that he take his lust personally?)
Apparently no woman has ever enjoyed working in a sex industry since the Happy Hooker back in the 50s? (But then Xaviera Hollander had more than a few brain cells functioning within her humanity—notice this does not say her “fanny” –rather her humanity—far more than Playboy’s Hugh Heffner ever did with his every need for girls as opposed to women—even few noticed Hollander’s beauty of brain). Still, whatever, who cares what happens as long as Mr. Stripper club attendee keeps his pants on. (Except of course if you happen to be a Congressman who somehow concocted lust for a porn star—well then that is clearly beyond the pale—“Good riddance pervert!” they yelled and screamed—those holier-than-thou, self-righteous ones.
But what is the point to all this. Well if you were to send some high school boys a picture of an attractive women with a naked crotch shot would they mostly whine about how “offended” they were to see such “raw’ exposure? Probably not. But what if you were to make a movie about 7th grade boys (14 year olds) getting horny because of a provocative female teacher and she doesn’t get fired? Would you say that the movie is socially sensitive and gender fair “if” this “same” culture automatically assumed that if a 17 old girl somehow got “inappropriate” pictures from a male adult it would be thought “damaging” enough (probably for life victim-hood) that he should be expected to immediately loose his job and “shamed” in broadcast circumstances—especially when within that same beltway culture there are those who engage in “many” other forms of high crime financial corruption?
Somehow it is difficult to completely enjoy the double standard that this culture so wittingly engages. It like saying it is perfectly OK if a male goes to yoga class and some of the women there “choose” to wear tight spandex clothing and when their derrieres are in the air “you” are “caught” gawking (their word choice) that somehow classifies you as a lowlife for displaying inappropriate attention to the rear-ends of the female species. (Don’t you just know how psychologically beautiful are these women, the ones that don’t really talk much or socialize, so how could you be so crude as to focus on their physicality?) Or a woman wears the band-aid for a bikini at the beach and you walk up to her (because she is attractive and sexy) and ask her about the book she is reading and she acts soooo offended that you would “accost” her—as in you being so unworthy—almost like Miss Halsey the jerk.
How can men be such animals when our human brains and spirits could be enlightened? I’m really surprised that people manage to contain themselves given the nakedness of domesticated animals and their sniffing at leg level? Perhaps we could acculturate people to have their animals wear clothing in public? But then we would still deal with the poop scoop thing? And besides animals don’t understand that many English words to completely comprehend our “elevated” moral reasoning—do they? How the world turns.
If people really believe in social justice then why not have the punishment fit the crime? Why not condemn the arrested exhibitionist be forced to watch women expose themselves at striptease lounges—say once a month—so they can learn first hand how shocking and horrible it must seem. Or how about women sending crotch shot photos to Mr. Anthony Weiner’s cell phone (or start an official web-page)? This would at least help balance all the sanctimonious crap about how terrible and shameful our sexuality and genitalia is?
Nevertheless maybe some will realize they don’t need other peoples’ approval or society—not even the blonde bomb’s interest. Because often enough the person who seems to be doing the rejecting is really being self-rejected. She may not have the resources upstairs to deal with life’s complexity and diversity. So instead she isolates herself even as she acts like a snob. Still it is not necessarily an easy lesson to learn in a culture steeped in low self-esteem.
There are two forms of misanthrope. One is the self-hating person who projects outwardly. Secondly there is the person who comes to know too much of human nature, and too much of the evil of history, and too much of how man rationalizes his tendencies and engages in self-delusion, and so equally learns to have little respect for human nature in general. Fortunately this second style of a misanthrope is less prone to deliberately act like a jerk—save when such behavior may have social value.
This work is in the public domain