Let's Nip This 'Judd Apatow, Neoconservative' Thing in the Bud
It's inevitable: Every summer, some conservative asshat ventures out of his office to see his one allotted movie of the season, then boasts that this blockbuster entertainment actually hides a hidden conservative message! Last year, we learned that Batman (you know, from The Dark Knight) is actually George W. Bush, which probably accounts for how popular that movie was. This year, claims NYT columnist Ross Douthat, our Republican message movie is Funny People. I'm afraid I'm gonna have to do a line-by-line rebuttal on this one, folks.
No contemporary figure has done more than [Funny People director Judd] Apatow, the 41-year-old auteur of gross-out comedies, to rebrand social conservatism for a younger generation that associates it primarily with priggishness and puritanism.
That's news to everyone (especially since younger generations currently associate social conservatism with vehement intolerance), but continue!
No recent movie has made the case for abortion look as self-evidently awful as "Knocked Up," Apatow's 2007 keep-the-baby farce.
Knocked Up barely touched on the abortion issue at all, skittishly calling it a "shmashmortion" and then moving on. Through Douthat's skewed lens, Juno is practically a Chick Tract.
No movie has made saving -- and saving, and saving -- your virginity seem as enviable as "The 40-Year Old Virgin," whose closing segue into connubial bliss played like an infomercial for True Love Waits.
Yes, well, a sex-fearing misogynist neck beard might misread Virgin in that way, but no sane moviegoer's first takeaway from the film was, "I wish I'd waited that long to have sex, filling my down time with loneliness and action figures!"
Just to reiterate: Douthat, who is afraid of sex and disgusted by birth control, called Steve Carell's 40-year virginity "enviable." Writing editorials like this one will help you achieve that goal, Ross.
More than most Westerners, Americans believe -- deeply, madly, truly -- in the sanctity of marriage. But we also have some of the most liberal divorce laws in the developed world, and one of the highest divorce rates. We sentimentalize the family, but boast one of the highest rates of unwed births.
Yes, well, I can think of one very famous unwed birth of recent vintage. Teenage and Republican, in fact!
Guys, it goes on and on, but here's the most essential bit of it: Douthat's argument is that aspiring to a healthy family (a goal in many of Apatow's films) is an inherently conservative principle, which is a total canard any way you look at it. Allow me to expound on your point, Ross: People of every political persuasion desire a loving family, but only social conservatives seek to dictate exactly what kind of family fits those parameters. (Also, Apatow's veneration of the family unit would appear to be principally inspired by his parents' traumatic divorce, as he told us, and not neoconservatism.)
Still, it is fun to watch Republican sites like Big Hollywood fall in line with this brand-new talking point. Two days ago, Funny People's middling box office was proof positive that Americans have rejected Apatow's endorsement of pot-smoking, swear words, and cunnilingus. Today, he is our new Rush Limbaugh, but with dick jokes.
· The Unfunny Truth [NYT]