Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Putting away childish things

I wish I could endorse this article about the "childish men and the women who love them" trope in media. I wish I could because of this passage:
It’s weird that we don’t have media where women are rewarded for developing the courage to walk out on disappointing, terminally-adolescent screw-ups. Movies about men prize taking risks, being resilient in the face of life wrinkles, learning new things about yourself, embracing and appreciating life, discovering adult values, stuff like that. Movies about women prize diplomacy, self-sacrifice, the dogged pursuit of love and kindness above all things, ‘turning into a butterfly,’ becoming more sexually liberated (because of men), being self-effacing and patient, basically stuff that makes her more conventionally appealing, less threatening or ugly, more marriageable.
That's a good paragraph, a yes yes YES moment and yes again, yet... it's missing the one element that is really irritating and makes the rest of the article a teeth-gritting chore for me to get through, and that is the way the author uses "like" throughout the rest of it. Like so:
But, like, I finally watched The Devil Wears Prada
And, like, I really believe the part of Girls where Hannah has low self esteem
Those are part of the same paragraph. Here's some more:
I have seen like nine million movies
The rise of the ‘manic pixie’ or ‘quirky girl’ in recent years is sort of like, the closest we can get to a subversion of this
And articles asking about the terminal adolescence of men, and like, how we embraced feminism and did everything required to be admirable self-actualized heroines and now what.
I understand that the author is using this Valley-speak signifier of air-headedness as an ironic tactic to illustrate how useless and stupid shit the crap coming out of Hollywood as regards women is, but it's still, like, really, like, annoying, and, like, pushes me away from full endorsement of this article as a commentary on sexism in the media. Perhaps we should just put the "sarcastic dumbing down" literary technique out to pasture. It is, at base, as childish as the attitudes writers using it mean to criticize, and plays in too much to our culture of adolescent snarking about serious things.

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