Precious Cargo

Refreshingly Bitter And Twisted Observations On Life's Passing Parade.

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Location: Valley Village, California, United States

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Romancing The Outsider

I’m sick of the romanticization of outsiders and the insiders who want to pretend to be outsiders forced to prostitute themselves under duress. I was watching Turner Classic Movies earlier while drinking tea and they had a trailer about their new documentary, The Edge Of Outside, and there was a line about directors “trapped in the Hollywood system.” “Maverick, independent” directors, my ass. Two of the directors shown, Stanley Kubrick and Nicholas Ray (pictured), were neither independent nor mavericks. Ray came to Hollywood and went straight into a contract with RKO. Kubrick made Fear And Desire and Killer’s Kiss by himself (with some help from others, but no studio involvement) as a way of proving himself to the studios. He never went back because he knew that the only way to finance major movies was through the studios.

Oh, puhleeeeze. Wannabe filmmakers will do anything and everything to get a directing contract with a major Hollywood studio. And this isn’t a new thing. When they succeed in selling out, they whine about how the system prevents them from realizing their artisitic vision.

I’m sick of whey-faced, bespectacled film critics and academics who fall in love with outsiders and hold them up as a symbol of artistic purity, as long as the writer extolling the outsider can do so from their middle class sinecure. It’s a form of living vicariously without taking the chance you might lose your comforts. Let’s see if any of these writers really want to live the life of someone like Henry Darger. Would you?

Movies are a form of popular entertainment. I’m wary of even conceding that directors are artists. With the exception of certain writers like James Agee, movies and the movie business weren’t considered a subject for serious consideration before the ‘60s and the osmotic seepage of the Cahiers influence into American criticism.

It’s not just the movie business. I’m so tired of writers and self-described artists of all kinds who think that the quotidian difficulties of their everyday life are somehow more important than anyone else’s and should command our attention because they are “artists.” Please flush the toilet, you’re shit stinks as badly as everyone elses.

Harvey Mansfield's Manliness

Harvey Mansfield’s silly book Manliness has been roundly trashed in reviews and even in interviews with the author.

Based on consumption of those pieces, herewith, my executive summary of Manliness.

Men are manly. Women are not. Margaret Thatcher is manly. Women should make 1/3 of household income and do 2/3 of domestic chores in order to give their manly spouses time to read books like Manliness to reassure themselves that they are indeed manly and that it is all somehow part of the order of the universe that the gender roles that Mansfield prescribes are just so.

Camille Paglia's Laff Riot

"However, no one can doubt Madonna's energy, drive, and perfectionism, as well as her infallibly theatrical fashion sense. She's been a huge force in the modern performing arts, and whatever gripes one may have about her present taste or lifestyle pale in comparison to the enormity of her achievement."

"A great film by definition is one that invites and demands repeated re-viewings. For example, I've seen such films as The Philadelphia Story, Gone with the Wind, All About Eve, The Ten Commandments, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Auntie Mame, Ben-Hur, Suddenly Last Summer, Lawrence of Arabia, and Valley of the Dolls countless times and look forward to many more. For me, they are permanent life experiences."

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