Wednesday, 20 July 2016

GhostBros, Gamers, YouTube and Vile

If you want the Too Long; Didn't Read version, I won't be going to see Ghostbusters because I am a theatre critic and in August, there are enough performances in the Edinburgh Fringe to be going on with. Also, I am an adult with no children. I'm sure there are a few Pasolini films that I haven't seen, and I am sufficiently pretentious to put them ahead of a summer blockbuster on my to-do list.

However... I am fascinated by social media mania. I watch a great many YouTube videos from the 'manosphere', mainly as a corrective to my 'progressive leftist' (or cultural Marxist) bias. So I have a working awareness of the current furore about the alleged 'feminist agenda' of the Ghostbusters reboot.

Plenty of anti-feminist ranters have an issue with the reboot. Having a bunch of women playing the 'busters represents, apparently, an attempt to force a progressive agenda on the cinema audience. 

Well, maybe... but, as Kieran Hurley points out, everything is political. Even by accident, a work of art expresses some cultural agenda. Transformers has an agenda. Since I only lasted about five minutes in that particular dunghill, I can't say what it might be, but it's probably something about technology and aliens (good outer-space robots versus bad 'uns, based on the classic 'war in heaven' narrative from Milton's Paradise Lost).

Complaining that a film has a ideological infrastructure is a bit like moaning that speedway has motorbikes. 

But I am suspicious... just like when Mad Max became this document of feminism. I think that the Hollywood studios are grateful for the manosphere maniacs giving it laldy. They not only keep the film in the public eye, they provide opposition that progressives like me can rail against. Going to see Ghostbusters is now a political action. 

The all-female team is not reflecting a feminist agenda, but a marketing strategy. And the mansophere ought to like that, because they've attacked feminist critiques of films with all sexy ladies in them by saying that the decision for bikinis is a financial, market-driven choice.

See, I think the answer to most questions in a consumerist age can be provided by following the money. It's not enough to make a good film. It needs to enable audiences to develop their own narrative. That'll get the audience in. 

That culture war we think is happening? It's an advert. 

And as for the idea that 'it ruins my childhood'... talk about privilege. Childhood is supposed to ruin you, leaving you with a bunch of neuroses when you realise that not everything is going your way.

Wait a minute... 


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