February 22, 2003

LET ME HELP YOU WITH THAT ROCK:

Apologia for Evil (Rod Dreher, January 27, 2003, Breakpoint)
I try to do right by my wife. I make a decent living, which provides a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and food on our table. I do my best to be caring, thoughtful, and dependable. Though he¹s only three years old, our son shows her love as best he can. "I love you," he tells her all the time. We're not the Cleaver family, but all in all, things seem to be going pretty well at our house.

Now that I've seen The Hours, though, I know that if she were to decide one day, out of nowhere, to walk out on the boy and me . . . well, life is like that. The heart wants what it wants, and nobody has any business judging her. She¹s just doing what she has to to be happy.

The Hours is a feminist movie that has been praised to the skies by critics, took home some major Golden Globe awards, and is expected to do well in upcoming Academy Award nominations. I think the movie is pure poison, and am going to tell you why (warning: Major spoilers ahead). Then again, Gloria Steinem figured I'd react that way.

In a Los Angeles Times essay lauding the film, Steinem wrote, "Some male moviegoers emerged bewildered about why Laura wasn't happy with just her nice
house, nice marriage, and nice son

Well, call me a caveman, but yes, I did wonder why Laura (Julianne Moore), a 1950s suburban housewife with a loving husband and a small boy who adores
her, was made so miserable by her existence that she came close to killing herself, even though she was pregnant, and ultimately abandoned her husband and two young children to run off to Canada. It's telling that Steinem, who probably still thinks the National Organization for Women speaks for the entire female population, assumes that all women naturally understand Laura's decision (guess what, they don't).

To sharpen the point, it's not that Laura's unhappiness is hard to grasp, though she never talks to her nice-guy husband, or anybody else, about what she¹s
feeling. The objectionable thing is the film's view that Laura owed nothing to her husband and children, not even an explanation, and that her pursuit of happiness should trump everything else

That's the philosophical heart of this film: Individual happiness is the highest good in anyone's life, and brave are those who have the courage to put personal
fulfillment above any other entanglement. The Hours is a fairytale for contemporary narcissists. No wonder Hollywood loves it so.


Mr. Dreher, even with all that, is more charitable than we were to the book.

MORE:
Pathos or Bathos? (Claudia Winkler, January 24, 2003, Weekly Standard)

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 22, 2003 12:47 PM
Comments

I guess Mr. Steinem, David Bale, doesn't provide Gloria with a nice marriage and a nice house. Or, it took Gloria 66 years to find someone who would.

Posted by: Erik at February 23, 2003 5:54 AM
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