You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Archive - Mar 20, 2007
Memo to "Dr. Rusty Shackleford": YOU ARE DUMB.
And you're not alone. You're just the example, the outlier, the pointy tip of the bell curve that stands as a shining example to us all of why we should discontinue a particular practice. In this case the practice of applying ham-handed political analysis to big-budget summer blockbusters.
Oh, sure, we all should have seen this coming years ago, when Revenge Of The Sith was seen as an attack by George Lucas on the Bush administration. This kept us from focusing all of our attention on the fact that Revenge Of The Sith was an attack by George Lucas on our aesthetic sensibilities*.
Blockbusters have no political content. Period. Even the ones that do. I know that seems like a conceptual oddity, but let's face it. Even assuming the writers and directors of big-budget movies are trying to put political content in there, it's in all of our best interests to pretend that they didn't. Otherwise, we end up with more shit like Smokin' Aces, and we know we don't want that. If I wanted to know what Michael Bay thought about global climate change, I'd be able to sit through more than five minutes of The Day After Tomorrow.
Achieving political detente with the movie industry not only prevents turgid, ham-handed analogies from getting in the way of important Shit Blowing Up, it also would prevent turgid analysis posted by reactionary nerds like "Shackleford", the King-Of-The-Hill-inspired alias of the man behind right-wing blog "The Jawa Report".
The title of which, by the way, does not seem to stem from "Shackleford"'s love of half-height berobed junk salesman. No, The Jawa Report exists to report on Jawas, which he uses as a sort of nerdracist slur against Arabs. See, the Arab world is divided into Jawas and Tusken Raiders... oh, for fuck's sake. I can't even get into the details. Let's just take it as read that he hates people in robes in the desert, and leave it at that. So, of course, he fucking loved "300" to death.
Now, I don't have an opinion either way about the movie, but everything I know about it tells me that it is a movie with two, and only two, driving ideas: shouting and stabbing. Any analysis of the movie should thus be limited to the volume of the shouting and the quality of the stabbing, and not extend to things like this. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!
"There was no hidden agenda in "300". It was not a "metaphor" about Western Civilization standing up against the Asiatic hordes. There is no Rorschach effect here as I thought going into the movie--Leftists and Islamist apologists seeing the Persians as a metaphor for U.S. imperialism, while those on the Right and Liberals of all stripes seeing Sparta as representing the U.S. fight against Islamofascism."
Look, sparky. It's either a metaphor, or it's literal. And last time I checked, during the battle of Thermopylae, "Western Civilization" was busy building stone pyramids so that Bush's daughters could dance drunkenly near them a couple of millenia later. It'd be a while before they had to stand up to any hordes from another continent, Asia or otherwise.
There are a few clues in this piece that "Shackleford" enjoyed this movie even more than he says he did - hints that, were it not for the blatant evidence that is the rest of his blog, I'd chalk up to deliberate, irony-tinged self-parody. But no, this is not the case.
"Sometimes a rose is just a rose. And sometimes the rose is a metaphor for something else. But I got news for you: a picture of a giant penis isn't a metaphor for something phallic. It is phallic... Go see "300". If you don't like it you probably hate America. That, or you're gay."
Sounds like SOMEONE left the AMC Cineplex with an erection lasting more than four hours. And instead of calling his physician, he found some way to blame it on the Islamofascists who'd managed to set off a very dirty bomb indeed in his pants. The clincher is this bit, which again, in any other context, I would swear was a fucking put-on of epic proportions:
"As you know, I wasn't going to see the movie for fear that it would be a 2 hour advertisement for joining the gays. You know, something about a bunch of guys prancing around in banana hammocks that creeps me out. To quote Sarah Silverman: 'it doesn't really matter if you're homosexual or bisexual--both are equally gross.'"
First, doth protest too much. Seriously, can't these people realize that the mere use of the word "prancing" opens up a nice, clear window to their secret, cock-hungry souls? And second, who the fuck takes a Sarah Silverman joke at face value, like it's a Diceman or Ann Coulter routine? That's insane. It's like watching a fake SNL commercial and then writing an angry letter demanding that Happy Fun Ball be taken off the market, because if that's what you people consider "happy" or "fun" then you are a bunch of sick bastards.
This is why we have to send blockbusters and politics to opposite corners, people. So that the "Rusty Shacklefords" of the world don't get to enlighten us all by calling Arabs "sandpeople" and hiding their man-lust behind the Global War on Terror.
Well, that, and the Smokin' Aces thing. Sweet goddamn, did that movie suck.
*And no, you nerds, it was not neither better than the other two. That's just the Stockholm Syndrome talking.