Containing Multitudes Since 2004
I have a problem with the idea of a bunch of male critics getting together to trash this particular film, and in particular to trash the filmmaker's appearance, while accusing her of an insular outlook in her work. Given that the only insights that provide contrast come from your absent girlfriends, I do think some female voices would have been helpful. Unless this is a very cunning satire of the average critical podcast. Sorry to be negative because I generally love your stuff.
I have a problem with the idea of a bunch of male critics getting together to trash this particular film, and in particular to trash the filmmaker's appearance, while accusing her of an insular outlook in her work.The subject at hand was not Lena Dunham's appearance (such as it is); and any remarks on that score were incidental to the assault on her film's overall content (think of it as collateral damage). Given the nature of the film . . . as well as the nature of our critique . . . the only truly contrasting voice would be that of some garden variety Stepford Cinephile clown (always male, no matter their gender; always Caucasian, no matter their race) who instinctively goes weak at the knees over movies like 'Tiny Furniture' because they reflect, more or less directly, the lives they aspire to lead and, more importantly, the world as they wish it could be.But that's almost beside the point, because, you see, I had no interest in conducting a debate over this socially incestuous, ethnocentric tripe. Why should I want to do anything but savage it? It made my skin crawl. I found nothing in it worth liking and very little that didn't, on some level, offend me. Debating its merits, as a moral proposition, would have been like debating the merits of the Holocaust as a method of Social Cleansing. Observing the standard forms of cinephile discourse only gives aid to such visions as Dunham's. I have no time for that.
I have a problem with the idea of a bunch of male critics getting together to trash this particular film, and in particular to trash the filmmaker's appearance, while accusing her of an insular outlook in her work.Translation: Women should somehow be exempt from the critical scrutiny that male artists are routinely subjected to. Because any negative reaction that a woman filmmaker might garner clearly stems from the misogynistic, limited outlook of a bunch of mean boys. And that's, like, not fair.
Actually, no, I'd have been perfectly happy to have a woman join the savaging. But a female presence in the room might have moderated the tone away from sideswipes about the filmmaker/star's physical appearance ("eg "she's a beast"). I have no opinion on the film, haven't seen it, or the subsquent TV show. I judge only the tone of the discussion. And if the film can be derided for being too white, surely the podcast is open to a similar accusation for being entirely male. If gender politics were irrelevant to the discussion, this might not matter.Actually, I don't really need there to be a female voice in the discussion: just any voice who would say, "Leave the filmmaker's appearance out of it, it weakens your case and makes you look crass."
I dunno, it may not be perfectly PC, but when an oeuvre features the exhibitionist auteur in a constant state of undress, I don't think comments noting the physical differences between that body and the Hollywood standards of beauty are necessarily sideswipes. Obviously, this is intentional on Dunham's part, and even if there's only a juvenile rationale behind it, it's really one of the more redeeming parts of her work. I would like more ugly bodies in cinema, and I seriously doubt these four cinephile blogstars are under any illusion that Playgirl will soon come a-callin. The problem is, with film criticism as it is, we cannot even talk about an ugly body without it being a qualitative, subjective gender issue. Nothing can be ugly anymore? The fuck?That being said, you should all have seen at least one episode of Girls before having this discussion. I took Tiny Furniture much like you did, but had to grit my teeth and eat some crow because the first season - the FIRST season - of that show is really pretty incredible. It's white. It's rich, and it is completely devoid of the adversity and banality faced by the vast majority of modern society, but it is a total, disgusting vision of "the scene."Keep the episodes comin! Enjoy this format so very much, and I do so much like to imagine Mr. Sutpen as Dr. Katz and the rest as a bunch of Bens.
I would like more ugly bodies in cinemahttp://www.quickmeme.com/img/de/de14d7aea89b89b169b96c7e1251ff89995eb94742c71e37428b5e80ea3a4af8.jpg
Also, I just finally gave this podcast a listen and I have to say: good show, gents.Monsieur Sutpen, I would like to take part in a future 'cast, potentially...
Oh, and one further comment on the podcast since you guys have likely inspired me to finally finish off the Tiny Furniture review that I started almost two years ago:You're aware that's it's a tad... rich for a lily-white group of internet film geeks to be sitting around, excoriating the lily-white milieu of a Lena Dunham film, correct? Not that I'm defending TF because it's absolute navel-gazing solipsism -- a problem I find with much indie cinema -- and I'm endlessly amused by the carping of Jabba the Hutt-jowled feminists who shriek "SEXISM!" any time someone dares to hold Dunham's oeuvre (such as it is) to any sort of critical scrutiny.Still, though. After an hour or so of being banged over the head with the self-loathing/diversity fetish of a group of apparent guilty white liberals (i.e. "waaaah, we're so white"), I can't help but ask: uh, are your social lives any less of a Belle & Sebastian fan club meeting than that of the character in Tiny Furniture? I mean, really...
Still, though. After an hour or so of being banged over the head with the self-loathing/diversity fetish of a group of apparent guilty white liberals (i.e. "waaaah, we're so white"), I can't help but ask: uh, are your social lives any less of a Belle & Sebastian fan club meeting than that of the character in Tiny Furniture?a) Yes. Considerably so.b) Only two of the panelists qualify as Caucasian. The third is African-American; the fourth is Latino.c) I'm not a Liberal. I'm a Socialist.
Re: a) and b)I stand corrected, then, and gladly so. I maintain my point in regard to the film community at large, however. It never failed to amuse me when, during my brief excursion into the colossal waste of time that was film school, I'd listen to these all-white circle jerks full of self-loathing granola-munchers earnestly discussing how to alleviate the "problem" of pervasive whiteness in the arts. Funny how it never seemed to occur to them that -- just maybe -- the comparatively low numbers of black/Hispanic/female faces on the intermediate and advanced levels of the film program were due to the fact that, on average, black/Hispanic/female students never seemed to show much interest in sticking around and learning the nuts and bolts of the filmmaking craft the way that whites and Asians did. Out of the handful of non-white/non-Asian students that I recall in the lower-level/Intro to Film 101-type courses, very few of them stuck around long enough for upper-level courses that delved into cinematography, editing, scripting and comprehensive film theory.Re: c)Scarcely any difference these days.
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