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Tilting at Windmills

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January 14, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

PC MOVIES....Given its well known "gay cowboy" theme, you'd think that Brokeback Mountain would be a shoo-in for most PC movie of the year. But I have another candidate. Marian and I saw The Family Stone this afternoon, and Tyrone Giordano plays a character who is deaf (the whole family signs, natch), gay, in an interracial relationship, and planning to adopt a baby. And just for good measure, Diane Keaton plays a character who's dying from breast cancer.

That's PC.

Kevin Drum 10:08 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (99)

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Comments

The most daring thing Hollywood could do would be to make a really un-PC movie. Not racist or bigoted, just un-PC. I'm sick of that crap.

Posted by: Rad Racer on January 14, 2006 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

Probably it's me, but I feel that the whole "PC" terminology has lost all meaning, and should be dropped. It's just annoying now. In fact, it was always annoying.

Posted by: craigie on January 14, 2006 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

RR -- that would look like... what?
Relax, this isn't snark, and I'm not being sarcastic -- though I wouldn't blame you for assuming that I was. I really want to know just what happens when you turn off the pc exaggerations, yet don't go to the opposite ends of the spectrum.
As has been pointed out in these pages before, one reason the righties have to lie to sell their agenda is that most Americans have totally accepted the "leftist" definitiions of the world as fundamentally correct. People should have equal opportunities regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, etc. It's rude to publicly discredit someone's religious beliefs or lack thereof. (Yes, of course there are lots of lefties who need to remember that one themselves. So what?) There are class differences in America, and it's better when people earn their rewards by working for them, and are not given them by right of birth, or by whom they know. One person one vote. The environment actually matters, and we have a responsibility not to screw it up for future generations. Too much arbitrary power in one place, whether it be big "big government" or "big business" is a bad thing. Absent some sort of checks, individual people -- whether politicians or businesspeople -- might do greedy, selfish, exploitative things, and laws exist to try to stop that. Your own personal business is nobody else's business. All that corny stuff.
So -- what's that un-pc movie look like?

Posted by: smartalek on January 14, 2006 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I guess it's worth being reminded that there's still a faint wheeze of liberal/left p.c. yet extant. In the reality of the early 21st Century, however, the only p.c. that matters -- and it's massive and suffocating -- is right/wingnut p.c.

Actually, I'm a little surprised that the ordinarily astute Kevin Drum is even reviving that feeble meme. The point ought to be that the whole premise of the film is less p.c. than preachy and -- not to repeat myself -- boring. I look forward to missing it.

Posted by: Jerome Clark on January 14, 2006 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

How do you define PC? In degrees of difference from you, a straight, white middle class male? The appearance of characters like those from Family Stone isn't PC in and of itself - it's how the movie treats them that counts...right?

Posted by: John on January 14, 2006 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

I still think PC (the left-wing variety) continues to have an identifiable content, worthy of ridicule. You may dismiss this notion, if you like, as a last, lingering hangover from when I was a conservative.

My suggestion for a non-(left)PC movie? How about a film set in the American South that doesn't beat you over the head with racism in the first five minutes? Or at all? Is there such a movie? I would be interested to see it.

Posted by: C. Schuyler on January 14, 2006 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Nuke the gay whales!

An oldie but a goodie.

Posted by: alex on January 14, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

A woman having breast cancer is PC?

Posted by: Jim E. on January 14, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

CS, I've never seen either "Steel Magnolias" or "Fried Green Tomatoes" -- does either of those not play the Racist South card in the first 5?
And if they don't, do they not count cuz they're "chick flicks" and get automatic pc dispensation on that basis?

Posted by: smartalek on January 14, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

What's the fuss? I've encountered almost everything in that description in just the last week.

How about putting as much effort as you do into criticizing "PC" into taking on the nasty habits of advocates of the whatever the latest new economy happens to be of labelling their victims as "losers?"

Posted by: Gene O'Grady on January 14, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure I understand your use of the term "PC".

Which dictionary do you use? Oh well, doesn't matter, here's all of them.

M-W says:
Main Entry: politically correct
Function: adjective
: conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated.

Gay cowboys? Politically correct? Uh, I don't think so.

Posted by: Libby Sosume on January 14, 2006 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

I should perhaps have said that I haven't actually seen every movie ever made about the South. Sadly, I missed both "Steel Magnolias" and "Fried Green Tomatoes," so I wouldn't presume to comment on their PC- or un-PC-ness. On reflection, however, I do believe I did once watch a flick about the South that didn't drop the race hammer: "For the Love of Winn-Dixie."

Posted by: C. Schuyler on January 14, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

smartalek,

"Fried Green Tomatoes" is PC in that the women and a black guy do something about abusive white husband. However, it more than makes up for it in two ways.

First, disposing of the body by barbequing and serving it is worthy of "Arsenic and Old Lace".

Second, the "modern" women's long suffering husband is great.

Posted by: alex on January 14, 2006 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

Still trying to figure oput what our favorite Political Pussycat meant by this post.

Seems like the Family Stone isn't a PC movie - but it might drive a PC person's head explode, trying to figure out what PC words to use if they ever met the Family Stone.

Does it sound like our Pussycat harbors some latent, non-PC feelings of resentment?

Posted by: Libby Sosume on January 14, 2006 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is frozen in time, at least as far as his understanding of the meaning of PC is concerned.

In this day and age, a PC movie whould be something like father knows best with some christianity and child molestation and wife beating thrown in for good measure.

Posted by: lib on January 14, 2006 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

"Sweet Home Alabama" -- all the southerners are charming and loveable and authentic, as opposed to those cold, brittle New Yorkers. It was a chick flick by way of David Brooks.

Posted by: Hank Scorpio on January 14, 2006 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

The Notebook was very sweet (chick flick?) and took place in rural North Carolina circa WWII. I don't think the race card was ever played in it, but it's been a while since I've seen it.

Posted by: Bailey on January 14, 2006 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

The wingers have the wrong perspective on Brokeback Mountain, they aren't gay cowboys, they're sheep herders. Sex with men is a step up.

Posted by: marc on January 14, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK


PC is and always has been about snark and sarcasm. It's another in a long line of terms the conservatives made up to ridicule those they believe are imposing standards of politeness and sensitivity upon them.

Since it's inception a couple of decades ago, all that, somehow, apparently, flew over Kevin's head, possibly owing to guilt.


Posted by: jayarbee on January 14, 2006 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

Dammit, Drum, you used the wrong "it's" here.

Also - Brokeback Mountain is the single most moving film I have seen in ages.

Posted by: Aaron in Des Moines, IA on January 14, 2006 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

Alex,

It's Nuke the UNBORN gay whales. Now that would make a good un-PC movie that would piss everybody off.

Posted by: Grotesqueticle on January 14, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

Avoid any movie after the GodFather with Diane Keaton in it.

The woman can singlehandedly turn shit on fire into pukingly sweet treacle.

That's NOT a virtue.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 14, 2006 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

PC is and always has been about snark and sarcasm. It's another in a long line of terms the conservatives made up to ridicule those they believe are imposing standards of politeness and sensitivity upon them.

When someone says, and I can't believe people are still saying it, "I know it's not PC to say it, but..." that translates directly into "I can't be bothered to put myself in anyone else's shoes before I run my giant, insular, halfwitted mouth, but you better not try to call me on anything I say."

Posted by: shortstop on January 14, 2006 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. And I don't understand why a self-professed liberal would ever use this term, much less in 2006. I get impatient with other posters when they accuse you of needlessly giving validation to GOP talking points, Kev..but really. What is the point of this?

Posted by: shortstop, somewhat cranky after a poorly prepared Japanese dinner that set her back large bucks on January 14, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

My suggestion for a non-(left)PC movie? How about a film set in the American South that doesn't beat you over the head with racism in the first five minutes? Or at all? Is there such a movie? I would be interested to see it.

The film Junebug, set in North Carolina was released last year and addresses race on in a very tangential way. Its actually one of my favorite movies of the last year.

And Kevin, as others have pointed out, the term PC has never had much of a meaning beyond its use as a conservative strawman. Its mostly a pathetic Your use of the term to descibe a film that I am sure very few of has seen seems like a poor choice. More than that I am not sure what the particular combination of traits you combine is supposed to be telling us.

Posted by: brent on January 14, 2006 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop, gotta disagree with on this one.

PC in its uglier manifestations is something that is repulsive to people on both sides of the political divide.

PC unchecked can damage lives.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 14, 2006 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin forgot to mention that The Family Stone is not only PC its really bad. Every cliche in the book.

My nominee for un-PC movie is Man on Fire which, despite starring Denzell Washington, depicts a Fox News wet dream. Missing white girl (although pre-pubescent), totally righteous avenger, slimy brown bad guys (OJ character married to gorgeous blond woman, and numerous brown corrupt officials), and might makes right. The only thing its missing are cameo appearances by Ron Silver and Ann Coulter. And a decent story.

Posted by: LW Phil on January 14, 2006 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin has been brainwashed. The right wing has beamed his sensibility into their spaceship and made off with it.

All the things that we on the left accept as natural and, well, unremarkable, Kevin thinks stick out like a sore thumb, such that he has to attach the derisive "PC" label to them to excuse his noticing them in case anybody's watching.

Posted by: Libby Sosume on January 14, 2006 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin - stick to politics and wonkery. You just made a fool of yourself. Gays stories have been invisible since before any of us remember. Now we get enlightened enough to bear a frank and realistic story about two men falling in love, and you call it PC? What's _your_ agenda? Why can't you just let a story be told without demeaning it? Think it's PC to bring into the story that these gay cowboys you think are so funny got killed for their lovin'? Seems like that's in the not-so-distant past. What's your problem with it? If you think it's worth mentioning, explicate a bit.

Posted by: Douglass Truth on January 14, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

Look, if you want a fairly nice example of how absurd PC can get, even when it doesn't turn absolutely vicious, how about the character Kevin describes: "deaf (the whole family signs, natch), gay, in an interracial relationship, and planning to adopt a baby"?

Really, when does it get to be too much? When does the didacticism and correctness of all of that finally make your stomach turn?

If you don't sense that there's a problem here, should following politics really be your game?

Posted by: frankly0 on January 14, 2006 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

franklyo, I suspect we are mostly in accord, as I don't disagree that the death of the ability to laugh at oneself (and others) coupled with an uncheckable determination to be offended wreaks all kinds of havoc on both sides of the aisle.

What I object to is the thoughtless and lemming-like use of this term, which by now has mostly become a verbal signal that the speaker has no intention of taking anyone else's viewpoints into consideration. It's not a thoughtful exploration of the damage that can be wrought when an attempt to be inclusive and sensitive morphs into a weapon that gets swung indiscriminately.

The people who are having that kind of honest and difficult discussion rarely use the so-abused-it's-meaningless term PC to initiate it. The people who can't stop saying it are the ones who think that by telling you they're going to be assholes, they're mitigating the assholedom.

Posted by: shortstop on January 15, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

As I recall, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was a wee bit PC for the times as well, but that didn't mean it wasn't a great movie. Sometimes cliches work, sometimes they don't. It's all in the art of the storytelling.

Posted by: David W. on January 15, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

As for PC, well, all I can say is that there's a hell of a lot more RC or "religious correctness" out there for Kevin D. to get upset about, and it has the added virtue of actually happening, rather than just being on film. Coming soon to a school district near you, I'm sure, when it comes time to review science standards as they apply to evolution...

Posted by: David W. on January 15, 2006 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

franly0,

I frankly don't know what you are talking about or what it is that you are even trying to say and that is precisely the problem with the term PC. Kevin is describing a character in a movie that I haven't seen. I have no idea how that character is treated in the film. I have no context for understanding anything about him. The only clue I have to go on is a relatively unlikely combination of traits to which Kevin applies the descriptor "PC." And no, I don't sense there is a problem here... certainly not a political one. I don't see how the terms "didactic" or "correct" are even relevant to an abstract description of completely superficial traits of people I know nothing about. Maybe that means that politics is not my game or maybe it means that "PC" is an imprecise and essentially meaningless term. I am pretty sure that the latter is true.

To put it another way, if you or Kevin truly believe that the unlikely character in this film can somehow be used to extrapolate some larger political problem, why not spend a few sentences and tell us exactly what you think that problem is. What is this vicious "PC-ism" that destroys lives and an be traced back to fictional stories about disabled minorities?

Posted by: brent on January 15, 2006 at 12:23 AM | PERMALINK

"Tyrone Giordano plays a character who is deaf (the whole family signs, natch), gay, in an interracial relationship"

Kevin Drum seems a little behind the times on movies and pop culture. Almost every movie these days feature black people (usually men) in interracial relationships. I'd be more shocked if Hollywood started featuring more Hispanics or Asians in their movies.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 15, 2006 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

"I frankly don't know what you are talking about or what it is that you are even trying to say and that is precisely the problem with the term PC. Kevin is describing a character in a movie that I haven't seen. I have no idea how that character is treated in the film."

Political correctness means something that is generally not correct in the real world, is deemed correct politically. So if you see stuff in the movies that don't mesh with reality, that's done with the purpose of being politically correct.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 15, 2006 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

Just wanted to step in to ask Kevin to remove or otherwise hide the major spoiler about Diane Keaton's illness. That bit of information isn't shown in any of the trailers (and yes, I write film reviews as a side gig). It isn't disclosed into well into the film. You may not have liked the film, but you shouldn't you give it away casually to your readers who may have an interest in seeing "The Family Stone."

I found the gay/deaf son in an interracial relationship objectionable, but not for vaguely defined PC reasons: he's the dullest, blandest character in the entire film. If he had any flaws, I didn't see them. Now that's bad drama.

_FF_

Posted by: fyodor_fish on January 15, 2006 at 12:47 AM | PERMALINK

I haven't read anything more PC than this post by Kevin in a long, long time.

There's nothing more PC than calling something PC.

Posted by: sixteenwords on January 15, 2006 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

Now-a-days right wingnuts label everything "PC", from knowing which fork to use to not calling a woman a "c..." to her face. The term PC gives inbred losers another excuse to thing there's nothing wrong with subsisting at the reptilian level.

Posted by: Joshua Norton on January 15, 2006 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

"to thing there's nothing wrong"

to THINK there's nothing wrong"

Posted by: Joshua Norton on January 15, 2006 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

smartalek,

I really want to know just what happens when you turn off the pc exaggerations, yet don't go to the opposite ends of the spectrum.

Off the top of my head, here are a few approaches. Keeping in mind we're not going to opposite extremes but trying to just reflect the world we see about us as accurately as we can so as to broaden the audience.

1.) Forget all the token racial distribution. Every commercial has to have their rainbow collective. Nothing wrong with that of course, if it fits the theme, but what ever happened to diversity, some commercials having different compositions from others.

2.) Apply the above to shows like ER. If ER was closer to reality more of the physicians would be of East and South Asian origin and less African American and White. I haven't watched the show for years but I know they introduced the token South Asian, Parminder Nagra, but didn't they have like 4 African Americans clustered together Gallant, Pratt, Benton, and Finch. I felt that this was PC engineering extraordinaire in that it was unlikely considering the composition of medical school classes.

Consider the reality of the medical profession. South Asians Medical Students:

With Indian-Americans already comprising 10 per cent of medical school students, medical schools have begun raising admission standards for Indian-Americans relative to other ethnic groups.

Black Medical Students:

Applications and enrollments continue to rise for Asian and Latino students, but both figures are flat for black students. In first-year medical classes, black students make up only 6 percent over all . . . Black women make up about 70 percent of black applicants to medical school. (Among all groups, men and women now apply and enroll in roughly equal numbers.)

So, considering that Indian medical students outnumber Black medical students by a factor of about 2x, and 70% of the medical students are female, it would have been nice to see more East and South Asian physicians because it would have better reflected reality rather than furthering an agenda of changing people's perceptions. Note that I'm not advocating that the film industry impose strict racial proportionality in order to accurately convey the cross section that is America. If the story calls for race or gender imbalance, then great. It would be refreshing not to see formulas playing out on the screen. It would be refreshing to not have every group's agenda given screen time. At least these forms of diversity would flow from the story, rather than from a political agenda to change viewer perceptions.

3.) Movies like Schindler's List are powerful in their impact and preserve important lessons from history. They resonate with the audience and become a part of our cultural fabric. They serve to aid us in never forgetting the evil committed under the Nazis.

However, where are the movies of the greater atrocities committed under Comminism? Here is an article from Reason Magazine which looks at this question:

The sheer unexpectedness of the film is almost as shocking as its content. In one of the film's more chilling sequences, the Soviets hand over a number of German Communists, Jews who had taken refuge in Moscow, to the Gestapo. Modern audiences may find this surprising, but that incident too is taken from the historical record. Indeed, former KGB officials are credited as advisers on the film, whose cast also includes some of their actual victims.

There has simply been nothing like it on the screen in six decades. It has taken that long for moviegoers to see Soviet forces invading Poland and meeting their Nazi counterparts. Audiences would likely be similarly surprised by cinematic treatments of Cuban prisons, the Khmer Rouge genocide, and the bloody campaigns of Ethiopia's Stalinist Col. Mengistu, all still awaiting attention from Hollywood.

Total Eclipse is rated PG-13 for violence, particularly graphic in some of the mass murder scenes, images of starving infants from Stalin's 1932 forced famine in the Ukraine, and the torture of dissidents. Director Steven Spielberg (Schindler's List) deftly cuts from the Moscow trials to the torture chambers of the Lubyanka. More controversial are the portrayals of American communists dur-ing the period of the Pact. They are shown here picketing the White House, calling President Roosevelt a warmonger, and demanding that America stay out of the "capitalist war" in Europe. Harvey Keitel turns in a powerful performance as American Communist boss Earl Browder, and Linda Hunt brings depth to Lillian Hellman, who, when Hitler attacks the USSR in September of 1939, actually did cry out, "The motherland has been invaded."

Painstakingly accurate and filled with historical surprises, this film is so refreshing, so remarkable, that even at 162 minutes it seems too short.

The sheer bloodshed and body count of Cummunist regimes is staggering. The heart wrenching drama of the untold stories buried in the Gulags, re-education camps, political prisons, and everyday life under totalitarianism could keep Hollywood going for a generation, if not more. Look how long we milked the arch-villans, the Nazis.

4.) Enough with corporations as the major villians of our time. As Roger Ebert notes:

Corporations have replaced Nazis as the politically correct villains of the age -- and just in time, because it was getting increasingly difficult to produce Nazis who survived into the 21st century

Villains can be drawn from all walks of life, from all ideologies, from all religious faiths but the fear of offending specific groups just homogenizes the villainy into caricatures divorced from reality. Evil is most powerfully felt when it could come from anywhere and anyone.

Quit doing stuff like changing the villians of Tom Clancy's The Sum of All Fears from Al-Queda type terrorists to Eurotrash Nazis.

Posted by: TangoMan on January 15, 2006 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

"Look how long we milked the arch-villans, the Nazis."

Yeah, quit ragging on the Nazis. It's not "PC" since the repukes have decided to imitate their politics.

Posted by: Hamilton on January 15, 2006 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

Talk about a PC outrage, did anyone read "The Line of Beauty' by Hollinghurst? It won the 2004 Booker prize so I gave it a shot even though it was described as a comedy of manners. In all the glowing reviews and descriptions on the cover, it never mentions that the story is told from the point of view of a 'coming out' young gay and spends at least half it's time giving descriptions of his lusting after and conquering buttocks. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it is not my cup of tea and I think the book was totally represented.

Still haven't finished, but I paid $15 for it so I'm going force myself to finish it. If I were to donate it to my small town Iowa library, as I often do, they would run me out of town.

Posted by: Michael7843853 GO in 08! on January 15, 2006 at 1:48 AM | PERMALINK

misrepresented, of course.

Posted by: Michael7843853 GO in 08! on January 15, 2006 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with craigie. Even using the term PC is simply pandering to the other side: "See, I'm not all that progressive; don't be threatened by little old me!" The whole thing started in the '70s, as a way for lefties, via Mao's "right thinkers", to make fun of holier-than-thou types. The wingnuts got hold of it and have been using it as a club ever since. Besides, it's just so done-to-death, it deserves to be curbed for that reason alone.

Posted by: Kenji on January 15, 2006 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, PC. Libs have a whole lot of problems with the term. Some are defensive, some deny it exists, some are offensive about it and some have trouble with just defining it. After some soul-searching, I've concluded that I'm more liberal than mostin the classical sense that leans towards libertarianismand I define PC as everything I'm not. In short, I don't give a shit about anything you do, just so long as it doesn't infringe on me. I don't care what color, sex, gender, sexual preference, etc., etc., you might be. Just don't ask me to pay your way in life. Don't ask me to go see movies I don't want to see. Don't insist I have to go see the latest and greatest feminist play. I'll go if I want to. Or not.

I don't care about you. I really don't. Make your own way in life. I will leave you alone. Good luck.

Posted by: Nixon Did It on January 15, 2006 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

"liberal than mostin the classical sense"

HA!!!! Looneytarians have somehow adopted that phrase - which is totally meaningless. "Economic" libertarianism has absolutely nothing to offer to replace the things they keep sneering about - it is just another utopian nihilism. You sit here in a world of plenty - part of an apparatus that guarantees a civil society and provides you with a chance to enjoy your wealth to a degree never imagined by the Kings of Babylon and you are tortured by the thought that you could have more when you don't even appreciate what you have.

Posted by: Hamilton on January 15, 2006 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with craigie. Even using the term PC is simply pandering to the other side: "See, I'm not all that progressive; don't be threatened by little old me!

Oh come on. Have you seen the movie Kevin refers to? I have, it's my business, and it sucks. If we can't be honest about crap on our side, are we any different than the twits on the other? This is no Good Night and Good Luck. It's not a ghost of Syriana. It's something akin to Michelle Malkin, Captain Ed, and Assrocket losing their little baby minds, having a heartfelt conversion, and writing a leftist script. Seriously. Maudlin is an major understatement.

Posted by: LW Phil on January 15, 2006 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

Hamilton:

"HA!!!! Looneytarians have somehow adopted that phrase - which is totally meaningless. "Economic" libertarianism has absolutely nothing to offer to replace the things they keep sneering about - it is just another utopian nihilism. You sit here in a world of plenty - part of an apparatus that guarantees a civil society and provides you with a chance to enjoy your wealth to a degree never imagined by the Kings of Babylon and you are tortured by the thought that you could have more when you don't even appreciate what you have."

Actually, Hamilton, you're just full of shit. You launch into an ad hominem attack without even knowing whom you're attacking. Fact is, I earned everything I've got, sometimes in rotten stinking jungles fighting for the likes of you and I appreciate it all. I don't want any more. I've had a very good life, clearly a better one than you've hadbased on your expressed bitterness. I also know far better than most how to survive, should there be a breakdown in civil society. I'll always make it, Hamilton. Will you?

And where did you find "economic" anywhere in my post? Clown. I still don't care about you.


Posted by: Nixon Did It on January 15, 2006 at 2:53 AM | PERMALINK

Nixon,
Who asked you about anything? What a whiner. And Phil: quityerbitchin' too. You and Nixon can go hold hands in the lobby.

Posted by: Kenji on January 15, 2006 at 3:05 AM | PERMALINK
TANGOMAN: Enough with corporations as the major villians of our time. As Roger Ebert notes:
Corporations have replaced Nazis as the politically correct villains of the age
Roger Ebert's notes notwithstanding, corporations at large are seldom portrayed as villainous. More often it will be rogue individuals or individual corporations that are depicted as corrupt. Even then, their evil intentions are generally thwarted by equally or more powerful "good guys," who will likely be corporate types themselves, else some form of super-hero. Fiction loves "bad apples;" whereas, in reality, corporations are the Nazis of the age.

As to your remarks and lengthy excerpt regarding the low representation of communistic atrocities in films, given the closed nature of Soviet society (as compared to our access to Nazi documents and leaders following WWII), as well as it having far less impact on day-to-day lives of ordinary moviegoers than do the many injustices of capitalism, it's hardly surprising that Stalin's butchery would be less depicted.

But again, it really isn't. I'm still waiting for the day when the true story of corporatism is told in a 162 minute film with major stars and Steven Spielberg directing. But that kind of story isn't told until after the fall. I'm not sure they'll be making movies at that point. So, it'll be a while.


Posted by: jayarbee on January 15, 2006 at 3:05 AM | PERMALINK

I just wanted to comment that the movie "Junebug" was meantioned by a previous poster as a good example of a southern movie that avoided a stereotyped Hollywood treatment. I saw Junebug, too, on a long cross-Atlantic flight in the video menu of Northwest Airlines. It was a superb movie. Find it in the DVD section of the video store if you have time to spend watching some interesting characters (I am tempted to write "real people" instead of "interesting characters" but real people usually are not interesting enough to watch -- our lives dont usually provide for good screenplays!)

Posted by: troglodyte on January 15, 2006 at 3:39 AM | PERMALINK

I've found that many liberals can't really understand PC any more than a frog can see an object that isn't moving, or a fish can detect "wet." Has nothing to do with lack of intelligence--the mental equipment just isn't there. Kind of like those African tribes who lived in deep forests who then had trouble comprehending distances in wide open spaces.

A primer on the subject can be found here.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 15, 2006 at 3:48 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, Troglodyte. Everyone in Junebug had just a little more going on than you expected from them. Often, their actions and the feelings they conveyed were at odds with the things they said -- or were expected to say, is more like it. And that's what kept the movie interesting, despite the lack of drama, in the usual sense. You sure were lucky to see it on a plane.

Posted by: Kenji on January 15, 2006 at 3:52 AM | PERMALINK

As long as movies about gays - cowboys or not - are banned from theatres in Utah or anywhere else I think it's safe to say that homosexuality remains rather politically incorrect.

I haven't seen the movie but my understanding is that one of the two gay lovers is murdered at the end. One way to see that is that it (like "Easy Rider") is a kind of protest film, which renders it kind of sub-tragic (a few twists and it could have been a full blown tragedy) but it's hard to see how a movie where a man is in some sense punished by death for being gay is a two-dimensionally PC movie.

"Pay it Forward" was a nauseatingly manipulative and politically correct movie. Were it not for the Milius scenes "Apocalypse Now" would almost fit the bill (see Pauline Kael's famous review).

Posted by: The Blue Nomad on January 15, 2006 at 4:34 AM | PERMALINK

Kenji,

that was you with the Junebug comment. We may be two of the five people who saw that film. The video menu of the Northwest flight (Seattle-Amsterdam - look for new Airbus planes) had over 25 movies to choose from. I watched a few remarkable cinematic chestnuts, too. The movie Gentleman's Agreement was playing. Very relevant to this thread, a 1950s movie about polite anti-Semitism in American society. And I had never heard of it. But Im not Jewish -- my friends "of the tribes" had seen it. It was a great time capsule, and acted well enough to be convincing. Gregory Peck plays a gentile magazine author who floats the rumor that he is Jewish around the office in order to learn about discrimination firsthand. In the process he nearly ruins his career, reputation and romantic relations. Some of the scenes of moral ambiguity are simply delicious!

Now to the rant. People complain about "PC" politics in movies when it mainly is poor screenwriting that is to blame. If a character is too good to be true and is also a minority/blind/gay/whatever, the PC complaints go up. Hollywood screenwriters and directors employ extreme concision to get their character essentials across. Audiences expect this. We have attention spans too short to tolerate much character development. The reason so few people saw Junebug is that it takes a long time to develop a character who does not follow a standard formula, and Junebug has at least three of these. One inevitably sets up expectations about a character and must refute them in a convincing way. This takes time.

Mass entertainment and Mass advertising must reach the largest number of people possible, and offending a large part of your market is just dumb. In fact, subtle and not-subtle gestures toward inclusion can bring more butts into seats and wallets into stores. So stores promote "holiday" sales instead of "Xmas" sales and the love interests in Harry Potter are East Asian and South Asian. (There is even a nod to Al and tbrosz in HP, because Hermione falls for a blunt stud who becomes a toothy shark under pressure.) Wingnuts can complain about "PC" sensibilities, but both they and the left extreme are niche markets. There are movies that cater to the niche markets, too. And some of them make a lot of money.

BTW, am I maybe the 10-millionth person to complain that the hairstyles of the Hogwarts men are stuck in the 70s? What is with that? Always a trendsetter, I saw the Goblet of Fire for the first time yesterday. Actually it was the Calice di il Fuoco at my local cinema. Few experiences beat the cultural dislocation of watching a Hollywood blockbuster in a different language.

Posted by: troglodyte on January 15, 2006 at 4:49 AM | PERMALINK

Can't speak to the HP movies, as I haven't seen them. But I think one thing that distinguishes the left -- or the center, as it used to be known until reality was loonified -- is an acceptance of ambiguities. If anything, progressives are more likely to accept complex, self-critical thinking (that's where the PC expression comes in), so it is, in fact, very disappointing when we are handed homilies and sentiment instead of fact.

But why should we be surprised when Hollywood does that? Isn't this exactly what we are handed every day by our Dear Leader: Hallmark sentiments masquerading as "firm" thought? It's everywhere, from Oprah to CNN, and it just proves that almost every corner of the so-called MSM is riddled with New Think. And if one little nub of realism or complexity sticks out, it's quickly sliced off -- with Gilette Triple-Blade Action -- or, even better yet, squashed by the sacred marketplace.

That's where Junebug comes in. And over to you, Edward R. Murrow...

Posted by: Kenji on January 15, 2006 at 6:21 AM | PERMALINK


TBROSZ: I've found that many liberals can't really understand PC . . . A primer on the subject can be found here: http://homepage.tinet.ie/~nobyrne/primer.htm

Sure, for information about an American idiom, why not go to an Irish website? But if you're really interested in getting some actual answers about the origin of the term and its usage history, take a look at: http://www.answers.com/topic/political-correctness


Posted by: jayarbee on January 15, 2006 at 6:27 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like to point your readers to the most un-PC film I've seen since I went over to the dark side of the force; the new King Kong's portrayal of bucolic aboriginal peoples sorely oppressed by imperialistic forces. I highly recommend it, if Dances With Wolves had shown the Sioux from Kong's perspective the audience would have been cheering the 7th Calvalry again.

Posted by: minion of rove on January 15, 2006 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

I haven't seen the movie. But I wanna throw in a plug for Annie Proulx. The Shipping News is a great novel and the collection of short stories that includes the Brokeback Mountain story (I'm not sure that was the story title, but I remember the story itself vividly) is excellent.

Okay, so the web doesn't let me not remember the title of the collection of short stories. Close Range: Wyoming Stories. And Amazon appears to be, shockingly, down.

Posted by: JayAckroyd on January 15, 2006 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe the General took down Amazon:

Going after Katie O'Beirne

Posted by: JayAckroyd on January 15, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Yeesh, big mouth, maybe some of us haven't SEEN the movie yet! You could have skipped the bit about the Diane Keaton character's affliction!

Posted by: New Hat on January 15, 2006 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

How about a film set in the American South that doesn't beat you over the head with racism in the first five minutes? Or at all? Is there such a movie? I would be interested to see it.

What on Earth? There's a ton of such movies -- just off the top of my head, try last year's excellent "Junebug," or "George Washington," "The Apostle," (one of the favorite movies and one I can watch again and again -- Robert Duvall is amazing as a Baptist preacher who starts a church in rural Louisiana), "Sling Blade," "All the Real Girls," "Rambling Rose," etc.

The one sad irony is that all of the above movies, which are mainly independents that look at real life in the South, are far more likely to be released and seen in New York, Boston and Los Angeles than they are in Dallas, Atlanta or Charlotte.

Posted by: Stefan on January 15, 2006 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

"Big Fish," now that I think of it, was another Southern-set movie that never even mentioned rascism -- quite an achievement, considering it was set mainly in the 50s and 60s...

Posted by: Stefan on January 15, 2006 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Look, if you want a fairly nice example of how absurd PC can get, even when it doesn't turn absolutely vicious, how about the character Kevin describes: "deaf (the whole family signs, natch), gay, in an interracial relationship, and planning to adopt a baby"?

Ummm...what's the problem here? If he's deaf, shouldn't it be quite natural that his family signs? Is there some reason that a deaf person shouldn't be gay, or vice versa? Is it unusual in 2005 America to be in an interracial relationship, or to be a gay man adopting a baby?

How about this for PC instead: "can hear (the whole family can hear as well, natch), straight, in an intra-racial relationship, and planning to conceive a baby"? Oh brother! Every cliche in the book....!

Posted by: Stefan on January 15, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

"Brokeback Mountain" is, I feel, a truly great film and I don't see it as a PC movie at all. In fact, I don't think it tells the viewer how to think about these characters. While a liberal might see the injustice done against gays, someone from "Focus on the Family" might see the injustice done against the wives in the name of shameful lust.

A "PC" movie, to me, would tell us what to think about these characters. I don't believe that Brokeback Mountain does that. It just presents people, tell their story, and let's us decide. Certainly, the main character is a complex individual that makes poor choices throughout the movie.

Posted by: PE on January 15, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

I agree, Aaron, Brokeback is a film that really moved me and was a film that stayed with me for a long time. I felt like I was just watching people up on the screen and I found the smallest little details to be heartbreaking.

To me, the moniker "gay cowboy" movie just doesn't do the film justice. To me, it was about how the internalization of hatred can destory a man and that made the movie to me a universal story that reached well beyond the "PC" issues it presented.

Posted by: PE on January 15, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

How about a post on all the Republican PC terms, where mercenaries are merely "contractors," or
racketeering gangsters are actually "lobbyists," where an unprovoked invasion can be labelled a "war of liberation" and where the Iraqi resistance to foreign occupation are called "anti-Iraqi forces," or where gay male whores are better known as "White House correspondents"? The Republican PC of war is strength, ignorance is freedom, up is down and black is white?

Posted by: Stefan on January 15, 2006 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

To complete the PC theme, there has to be a Christian character (neighbor, cousin, minister) who is a secret pedophile or Nazi.

Posted by: GOPGregory on January 15, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

It may be a minor point, the the so-called gay cowboys were in fact herding sheep when they first fell in love.

Posted by: jri on January 15, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

The most daring thing Hollywood could do would be to make a really un-PC movie. Not racist or bigoted, just un-PC. I'm sick of that crap.

I refer you to every single vigilante/action/war/thriller/video game adaptation movie released over the past ten years....

Posted by: Stefan on January 15, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

To complete the PC theme, there has to be a Christian character (neighbor, cousin, minister) who is a secret pedophile or Nazi.

What, you mean someone like Jim Bakker or Jimmy Swaggart or Father Geoghan or Pat Robertson or Father Coughlin or the BTK killer?

Because God knows, in real life there are no such men who indulge in adultery or financial fraud or pedophilia or fascist political sympathies.....

Posted by: Stefan on January 15, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

LW Phil,

Did James Watt become a screenwriter?

Posted by: stupid git on January 15, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

I really don't think Brokeback was PC. It was actually refreshing that they depicted gay men - warts and all. Sure, you're really attached to the characters, but I thought it was pretty clear that they decimated 2 womens' lives fairly thoughtlessly - which is very true to life. Nor were the women exactly perfect by any means. Every character had some pretty huge flaws, and it was nice that they actually depicted an oppressed group that way. I guess they could have done more to convey that, but it was fairly in your face.

Posted by: MDtoMN on January 15, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Did James Watt become a screenwriter?

Nah, the script was wooden, and you know how he hates wood.

Posted by: LW Phil on January 15, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

on the southern movies theme

'Sweet Home Alabama' - set in the south and doesn't hit you over the head with racism, in fact, set in a south oddly devoid of black people altogether. obviously someone's fantasy.


Posted by: CurtisE on January 15, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

republican pc

GWB is a compassionate conservative.

Tom DeLay is being persecuted by a mean Democratic prosecuter from Austin.

Republicans want freedom and democracy for the people of the Middle East.

Jackoff Scandal is a bipartisan scandal.

Republicans want a colorblind society and that's why they have to oppose affirmative action.

Republicans want a small government.

ACLU is the biggest enemy of the United States.

We should give all the power to the President and the executive to spy on us since he will never misuse it.

Posted by: nut on January 15, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan! That means that three of the five people who saw Junebug read Kevin's blog! Glad to have you in the club.

Posted by: troglodyte on January 15, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

TangoMan-- thank you. I'd pretty much agree with your points 1-3.
On point 4, though, maybe I just haven't seen enough movies making "corporations" the Bad Guy in ways not supported by reality, to be sure to what extent, if any, I agree or disagree. If you're thinking of, to take one recent example (that I haven't seen, but did read the book) "The Constant Gardener," I am inclined to take LeCarr's word for it that if anything it underrepresents some of the harsh realities he claims to have found in researching the book. For two movies that I did see -- about ten years after everyone else -- are you suggesting that "Erin Brockovich" was not, in its basic setup, true to life? Or "The Insider"? Are you suggesting that PG&E did not actually pollute the groundwater in a small CA town, and that the CEO's of large tobacco firms did not tell Congress that "nicotine is not addictve," when their own internal documents clearly indicate that they knew and commercially exploited that fact?
Or are you talking about other movies? I really liked "Office Space," but I don't take it seriously. I'm sure in no real-world free-market profit-driven corporation would people who have done excellent work be let go while inept losers who know how to play office politics get rewarded and promoted.
Better posters than I have pointed out above that even using the term "PC" is to buy into a rightist meme. Righties claim to want entertainment free of "instructive" propagandizing. This is, of course, nonsense; they just want it to be their values instead of ours. Ayn Rand expressly stated that a goal (I think she actually said THE goal, it's been too long) of art/literature -- "the Romantic ideal" -- was to show Man at His Best -- for her, John Galt, Howard Roark, etc. Man as he should be, rather than as he too often is. Who am I to disagree with Ayn Rand?

Posted by: smartalek on January 15, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, all the liberals in Family Stone turn out to be just as assholish as the uptight girl. How's that PC?
I liked it, by the way. It wasn't well-made, but I did think it was really funny.

Posted by: rebecca on January 15, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

What Drum has described isn't PC. It's the movie equivalent of a greeting card.

Brokeback Mountain wasn't PC, either. It was simply dull: too little matter stretched over too much movie.

If one sees "PC" everywhere or see it as an terrible menace, I'd suggest a re-think is in order.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on January 15, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

CurtisE,

Sorta like the Andy Griffith TV show?

Posted by: stupid git on January 15, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

I suggest TangoMan check out the works of Leni Riefenstahl. They seem to be the type of movies he would approve of.

Posted by: Hamilton on January 15, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

I would hope that if there was a deaf member of my family, that we would have learned how to sign in order to communicate with him/her and his/her friends, "Natch" - so why the snark?

And I'm a member of the gay community here in DC, and guess what? There are plenty of deaf gay men and lesbians. And being an inter-racial city, I'm sure there are plenty of inter-racial gay and lesbian relationships among the deaf crowd. None of this is especially remarkable or self-exclsionary - people form inter-racial relationships. Deaf people form inter-racial relationships. Deaf people who are gay form inter-racial relationships. What's the problem here?

You really need to get out more, Kevin.

Posted by: Andy on January 15, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think "politically correct" was originally a conservative "smear"; it was used ironically by Lefties before being taken over by conservatives somewhere in the early 80s. I thought it had disappeared entirely, and like many here am a little surprised to see Kevin using it. I know what most people would understand by "PC" (uncontextualized), and that isn't it.

That said, the movie's scenario as Kevin describes it reminds me of someone's quip about the celebrated remark that got James Watt forced to resign as Sec. of Interior. He'd said that a committee he'd put together included "a black, a woman, two Jews, and a cripple," and some alleged wit said he could've rolled them all into one by finding a black Jewish woman with one leg shorter than the other. The plot Kevin describes has something of that feel to it too much "outsiderness" forced into one small space. After a certain point you (well, I, anyway) start to feel harangued.

It isn't always so in fact; depends a lot on the handling of the material. A fairly-recent Elizabeth George mystery manages to introduce a black lesbian single mother with a prominent facial scar without its seeming contrived or piled on in the must! convey! message! sense. But then she had many hundreds of pages to do it in. Two or three hours of real time isn't the same thing.

Posted by: waterfowl on January 15, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Let's crank through some numbers here, regarding the deaf, gay, interracial couple in this film, which strikes so many people as perfectly natural and practically everyday.

About 0.5% of all Americans are deaf (employing the most reasonable definition of the term).

Let's say 10% (probably a high number) are gay.

About 0.02% of whites marry blacks (yes, it's that low, apparently and amazingly) -- which is probably as reasonable a proxy for the number of serious interracial couples in general as I can come up with. (I assume that by interracial, Kevin means black-white.)

Now suppose we assume these are all independent (big assumption, I know), and ask how many deaf, gay, interracial couples there might be in the US. (Here I assume only one member of the couple is deaf).

I come up with 0.005x0.1x0.0002=0.0000001, or one in 10 million. That would be thirty people in the US who would be so involved.

Fucking thirty. And I'm not even taking into account the narrowing effect of how many also want to adopt children.

Oh, no, there's no contrivance there. This is an important social issue, for Christ's sake.

It's of course emphatically NOT an artist just making shit up because he or she likes the wonderful smell of that shit, and wants to bludgeon the audience over the head with how perfectly correct he or she is. Oh no, it's a slice of life we absolutely MUST see, and come to terms with because it's all around us.

Horse. Shit.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 15, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

Dammit, people, get a grip. It's perfectly obvious what Kevin means by "PC" here, even if it isn't the Webster's definition. PC in this context refers to a movie that is straining for sensitivity, or self-consciously and self-seriously invoking various lefty shibboleths in order to jerk tears out if its intended audience.

This isn't to say the movies aren't good -- I haven't seen either, so I can't comment. But however good they are, they're definitely PC. Sorta like E.T. was a good movie back in the day, but we can still all acknowledge that it was relentlessly cheesy.

As Cartman famously said in South Park: "Independent movies are about gay cowboys eating pudding." Now that's un-PC comedy.

Posted by: Crabshack on January 15, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

I know that Hollywood is only interested in the margins (the 2-3%) on either end of the bell curve. For them, "normal" is boring. And yet they wonder why the box office is down and the films that make the most money are G or PG. For the PC types reading this, "gay" is inherently PC. Pretending that a sub-group that makes up 2-3% of the population constitutes "normal" is a specific and deliberate distortion of reality. By any meaningful definition of the term that is "abnormal". Doesn't make them less human, just means that they do not represent "normal". It would be the same kind of distortion of reality if Hollywood/Broadway replaced the "gay" roles with "midget" roles (eg, a movie about midget cowboys or "La Cage au Midgets", etc.).

Posted by: m on January 16, 2006 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

For the PC types reading this, "gay" is inherently PC. Pretending that a sub-group that makes up 2-3% of the population constitutes "normal" is a specific and deliberate distortion of reality.

Your definition of normal in terms of absolute quantities is more than a little screwy. It would actually mean that no film about any group of people is normal because all people are minorities in one context or another. But more importantly your characterization of what those films are trying to do demonstrates exactly the problem with the term PC. You have attached a dergatory political label to the very fact that a movie is about someone other than white straight people. As you say, gay is inherently PC. So no movie about gays can be anything other than whatever bullshit shibboleth you imagine PC to represent. This is, of course, nonsense and demonstrates precisely why the great PC menace is just a figment of your fevered imagination.

Using your definition of normal for instance, what film portrays the idea that gay is normal, which is to say that it portrays the idea that most people on earth are gay? What film are you talking about?

To put the same question in a slightly different way, what exactly is the distortion of reality in portraying the story of two gay cowboys for instance and what does it have to do with political correctness? You don't mention Brokeback specifically but since gay is inherently PC, it must count right? Clearly there are gay cowboys in the world so how does the simple telling of a story which includes such characters distort reality or institute some sort of political restriction? If we want to avoid the dreaded PC menace shall we only make films about midwestern white middle class office workers?

Posted by: brent on January 16, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Brent-
You don't see what is PC about a movie about gay cowboys? You might be right (though "clearly" seems to be just a bit emphatic) about there being gay cowboys (there are probably also midget cowboys, left-handed one-armed redheaded cowboys, and many other quirky cowboys). I very much doubt that Hollywood will be investing millions of dollars to produce a movie about them. Or producing disingenuous series of adds to promote the film that speak stirringly of the movie as an epic "love story" while delicately avoiding the mention of the love that dare not speak its name.

As I predicated my post, Hollywood is interested in the margins -- it is the particular margins they choose that I find interesting.

Posted by: m on January 16, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

This isn't to say the movies aren't good -- I haven't seen either, so I can't comment. But however good they are, they're definitely PC

Setting aside one more strange definition of PC that demonstrates the apparent uselessness of this term, how exactly is it that you know these films fit your definition of PC if you haven't seen them?

PC in this context refers to a movie that is straining for sensitivity, or self-consciously and self-seriously invoking various lefty shibboleths in order to jerk tears out if its intended audience.

How do you know that the Family Stone is trying to do any of this? The very fact that it has a character in it with the traits that Kevin descibes means that it is necessarily attempting to invoke "lefty shibboleths" and attempting to "jerk tears?" Are deaf, gay people in interracial relationships trying to adopt children, lefty shibboleths whose only goal in narrative can be to invoke tears? Really? Because frankly, I don't see what any of that has to do with politics at all, left or otherwise. And I am certainly not moved to tears concerning characters I know nothing about regardless of how unlikely their situations may be. The truth is that you accept the term PC because of your preconception of what those characters represent in the context of some politicized frame - a frame that has largely been constructed by the right from their imagination of what PCism is and represents. And the point that I am trying to make is that there is no reason to think of this as an issue of politics at all, unless we are determined to accept the framing of minority status as inherently political. I know thats not what I want.

Posted by: brent on January 16, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

You don't see what is PC about a movie about gay cowboys?

No m. I don't. And you haven't explained to me why I should. Your definition of PC maps to basically abnormal. Setting aside the fact that I don't think that your definition of normal or abnormal is particularly useful, even if I accept it then becomes no movie in any context that is not PC. My real point is that you use the term PC because you either want to or accept the politicization of the narrative in a specific way. Not because it has anything to with the narrative itself. Poltical correctness is essentially a made up concept that the right has used to try and tarnish any progressive opinion especially on any matter concerning race or identity. I have yet to hear a reasonable definition of what it means or any specifics on what harm it is supposed to be doing. In other words, I call bullshit.

Posted by: brent on January 16, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Gays very well make up "only" 2-3 percent of the population. There are, however, many movies made of jewish people who, for instance, make up less than 10% of the American population.

There may well be other films about cowboys who happened to be gay, but I can't remember any. My guess is in the history of hollywood that the number of "gay cowboys" are outnumbered by "straight cowboys" by at least 50 to 1.

It is sad when there is finally ONE movie that has gay cowboys as its lead characters.. this is depicted as if this is something Hollywood always does, that Hollywood is distorting reality and that it does this all the time (produce films with gay cowboys) just to make a buck.

Give me a break. This was a good story written by Prouix and adapted by Larry McMurtry who has written plenty of stories concerning straight cowboys. This time McMurtry was excited by the prospect of exploring a different aspect of the American West. That is all.

Posted by: PE on January 16, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

"I get impatient with other posters when they accuse you of needlessly giving validation to GOP talking points, Kev..but really. What is the point of this?"

LOL, it took a movie throw away post to make you realize what we are talking about?

Kevin is the only example of a self loathing liberal I've ever seen. He really, really doesn't like others who value people over wealth and property, even though he says he has those same values. He takes every criticism from the right wing to heart, no matter how ridiculous or easily disproven. He wishes dearly that liberals weren't portayed as limp-wristed, overly-sensitive, moonbats, and blames liberals for being the victims of a slanderous marketing.

Every once in a while, he clears his head and actually firms up his backbone, but that is the exception. I pity Kevin, because it must really suck to be him, but I'm sick of reading his internalized GOP talking points on a supposedly progressive magazine's website.

Posted by: Mysticdog on January 16, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

You guys really don't get it do you. Brokeback Mountain is PC because cowboys, as a rule in our popular culture, are not homosexual. They are in fact, a polar opposite archtype in traditional cinema. Thus the choice of a gay cowboy movie is very liberal-PC in that it turns tradition on its head. On the other hand, the Birdcage, which involved gay men and was both quite funny and well received, is not PC.

When a narrative involving some group claiming or accorded some special status by the left seems forced or contrived, it will be considered PC. Two gay cowboys meeting and then going straight, then gay again (or perhaps bi)? Contrived. It's too much. Had it happened and they forgot it and went on with their lives, I might believe it. Or even more likely had they had a true bond of love, with no sexual desire, separated, married, and felt a longing to share each other's company in a traditional sense while still loving their wives, I'd buy that too. It would be just as moving, and would be more believable.

Posted by: Everyman on January 16, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Goodness, Everyman, you have a very tidy and perfectly ordered perception of human sexuality, don't you? A place for everything, and everything in its place, is that it?

Posted by: shortstop on January 16, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

So, in this context, a politically correct movie is a movie that includes at least one relationship in which one of the parties is either gay, disabled, or nonwhite. Thus "Brokeback Mountain" and "The Family Stone" are politically correct, because they include characters that are gay, disabled, and nonwhite.

The most daring thing Hollywood could do would be to make a really un-PC movie.

Yeah. I mean, how often does Hollywood make a movie about a relationship between two straight, white, nondisabled people? Never, that's how often.

Posted by: Drew on January 16, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

I've been reading this blog for some time now. While I disagree with the labelling in this case, calling Kevin "self loathing" is absurd.

Posted by: PE on January 16, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

When a narrative involving some group claiming or accorded some special status by the left seems forced or contrived, it will be considered PC.

So now we have yet another definition of PC from Everyman. Actually there were two different definitions in that post but lets not nitpick. Now its about contrivance with respect to some "special status," the special status in this circumstance being gay. I especially like the passive formulation of "will be considered" as if the entire question is not who is doing the considering. As shortstop points out, the particularly tidy view of sexuality that Everyman proposes is more than a little absurd. But even if we accept that two men could not realistically be torn and conflicted about their relationship to one another except in some crazy Hollywood fantasy, what does this particular "contrivance" have to do with politics exactly? What real connection does this have to any political ideology at any point in the spectrum?

Yes you are right Everyman. I don't get it. But I really don't think I am the one with the problem here.

Posted by: brent on January 16, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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