Thank God we have another film about the fantasies, hang-ups, unintentional cruelties, and eventual redemption of a fucked-up straight white guy.Ha ha ha, AWESOME. But can she keep it up? Let's check in with the second sentence:
- Dana Stevens, first sentence in her review of Choke.
For a moment there, I had almost forgotten to keep such dudes at the forefront of my concerns.Oh, snap!
- Dana Stevens, second sentence in her review of Choke.
It's not that I don't care about FUSWGs. I do! They are a part of our human community. Some of them are quite talented. It's just that these stories dominate the landscape, in a way that often makes me feel that other perspectives aren't valued, and at a certain point my relationship to the culture at large starts to feel like hanging out with a dude who has to tell me everything about everything and quite blithely and confidently cuts me off when I start to speak. At some point, my willingness to listen wears thin, and I excuse myself so that I can step outside and smoke.
I should note that this sentence, for me, really hangs on the phrase "unintentional cruelties." Always, in these stories, the FUSWG in question hurts someone - typically a girl - either through sheer doltishness and immaturity, or because he actually does believe that he matters more than she does, that he can and should be cruel or disrespectful or dishonest, because it's fun, and because he can get away with it. The "sensitive," navel-gazing aspect of the story, and the eventual redemption, are supposed to legitimize this: I know I'm an asshole, but I just can't help myself. This is a common line, and it wearies me. If you don't want to be an asshole, there are plenty of ways to avoid it - like, say, listening to the women in your life when they tell you how they want to be treated, or challenging your own belief that respecting women's boundaries is "emasculating." Also, you might not want to surround yourself with narratives that legitimize asshole behavior - although, as previously noted, they will be difficult to avoid.
--- WORKBOOK: FUN WITH THIS SENTENCE ---
This sentence is fun because you can use it in different contexts! Let's start by applying it to, say, Indecision:
Thank God we have another [novel] about the fantasies, hang-ups, unintentional cruelties, and eventual redemption of a fucked-up straight white guy.Let's apply it to All the Sad Young Literary Men:
Thank God we have another [novel] about the fantasies, hang-ups, unintentional cruelties, and eventual redemption of [three] fucked-up straight white guy[s].Let's apply it to Knocked Up and High Fidelity and Fight Club and Garden State and Elizabethtown and The Last Kiss and About a Boy:
Thank God we have [all of these stories] about the fantasies, hang-ups, unintentional cruelties, and eventual redemption of [a bunch of] fucked-up straight white guy[s].BONUS QUESTIONS: Can you think of any narratives to which this sentence might apply? Be creative! Is it okay that many Charlie Kaufman movies fit this pattern if you also think Charlie Kaufman movies are just really good? Consider fucked-up straight white chick media: is it equally insufferable, not least because of the amount of privilege inherent in being a straight white chick, but also because self-pity and self-absorption are just really unlovely traits? How about this blog? Is it annoying you yet? Do you think that it will start to? Also, can I have a cigarette now? Please. I want one. Please.