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robertogreco : chauvinism   4

Molly Ringwald Revisits “The Breakfast Club” in the Age of #MeToo | The New Yorker
"John’s movies convey the anger and fear of isolation that adolescents feel, and seeing that others might feel the same way is a balm for the trauma that teen-agers experience. Whether that’s enough to make up for the impropriety of the films is hard to say—even criticizing them makes me feel like I’m divesting a generation of some of its fondest memories, or being ungrateful since they helped to establish my career. And yet embracing them entirely feels hypocritical. And yet, and yet. . . . 

How are we meant to feel about art that we both love and oppose? What if we are in the unusual position of having helped create it? Erasing history is a dangerous road when it comes to art—change is essential, but so, too, is remembering the past, in all of its transgression and barbarism, so that we may properly gauge how far we have come, and also how far we still need to go.

While researching this piece, I came across an article that was published in Seventeen magazine, in 1986, for which I interviewed John. (It was the only time I did so.) He talked about the artists who inspired him when he was younger—Bob Dylan, John Lennon—and how, as soon as they “got comfortable” in their art, they moved on. I pointed out that he had already done a lot of movies about suburbia, and asked him whether he felt that he should move on as his idols had. “I think it’s wise for people to concern themselves with the things they know about,” he said. He added, “I’d feel extremely self-conscious writing about something I don’t know.”

I’m not sure that John was ever really comfortable or satisfied. He often told me that he didn’t think he was a good enough writer for prose, and although he loved to write, he notoriously hated to revise. I was set to make one more Hughes film, when I was twenty, but felt that it needed rewriting. Hughes refused, and the film was never made, though there could have been other circumstances I was not aware of.

In the interview, I asked him if he thought teen-agers were looked at differently than when he was that age. “Definitely,” he said. “My generation had to be taken seriously because we were stopping things and burning things. We were able to initiate change, because we had such vast numbers. We were part of the Baby Boom, and when we moved, everything moved with us. But now, there are fewer teens, and they aren’t taken as seriously as we were. You make a teen-age movie, and critics say, ‘How dare you?’ There’s just a general lack of respect for young people now.”

John wanted people to take teens seriously, and people did. The films are still taught in schools because good teachers want their students to know that what they feel and say is important; that if they talk, adults and peers will listen. I think that it’s ultimately the greatest value of the films, and why I hope they will endure. The conversations about them will change, and they should. It’s up to the following generations to figure out how to continue those conversations and make them their own—to keep talking, in schools, in activism and art—and trust that we care."
mollyringwald  thebreakfastclub  #MeToo  2018  film  1980s  teens  youth  identity  sexism  harassment  johnhughes  chauvinism  nationallampoon  writing  homophobia  tedmann  sexuality  sixteencandles  prettyinpink  change  harveyweinstein  adolescence  havilandmorris  insecurity  sexualharassment  misogyny  racism  stereotypes  outsiders  invisibility 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Recoil Operation – The New Inquiry
"Gun violence is an undeniable problem in the United States, but as with so many social issues, our perception of it is constrained by a deeply ingrained chauvinism, an American exceptionalism that is both self-righteous and hypocritical. “Gun violence” is our embarrassment, as a “developed nation,” as civilized, advanced, and wealthy. And so we divide the rest of the world between two categories. There are states with fewer gun deaths than ours, with whom we imagine ourselves as being on a parallel plane of sophistication, and whose superior track record shames us. And there are the squalid, undeveloped hellholes with more gun deaths than ours. We might make billions destabilizing their regimes and flooding their borders with weapons, but our complicity in that violence is not what shames us. Our shame is the fear that “we” might somehow be like “them.”"



"For her part, Hillary Clinton has called for a renewed Assault Weapons Ban, to keep “weapons of war off our streets.” She has also backed a lawsuit by the families of Sandy Hook shooting victims against Remington Arms, whom, the suit alleges, marketed the AR-variant used in the massacre “in a militaristic fashion.” Of course, in her role as Secretary of State, Senator Clinton approved the sale of thousands of assault rifles to our “partners” in Iraq and Afghanistan, including a 2011 contract of $4.2 million for Remington specifically. The outrage is over whose “streets” such weapons wind up on, and where the “militarism” of the arms industry comes to roost.

All of this means that connections between America’s implication in violence abroad and violence at home are foreclosed from the get-go; the more troubling answers to the question of how “a weapon used in Vietnam and streets of Fallujah” ended up in an elementary school Connecticut are easily deferred when blame can be tidily left at the door of a single manufacturer. But we shouldn’t be surprised. The American capacity to wash our hands of blood while simultaneously pointing fingers is nonpareil; when it comes to small arms, our exceptionalism is so much NIMBYism. Not on “our” streets – but yes, by all means, on yours.

* * *

One of the basic things any firearm must do is manage the energy generated when a bullet is fired.

A cartridge’s primer is struck, propellant ignites, and a bullet flies forward down the barrel. Per Newton’s Third Law, this controlled detonation and forward momentum entails a correlative momentum in the opposite direction, the felt force experienced as recoil. Mitigating this recoil is vital to maintaining a shooter’s accuracy, and is thus an important part of firearms design.

Rifles like the AR-15 offer extremely high velocity coupled with comparatively low recoil. Explosive forward motion is ingeniously harnessed, contained, leveraged. Rounds are sent rushing out and forward, again and again, and “kick” is minimized.

In its perfection of these mechanics, the AR-15 embodies a quintessentially American fantasy for engaging the world: maximum impact, minimum pushback, all bundled up in sleek aesthetics and sold at a hefty profit margin. America’s rifle is thus an overdetermined object: the symbol of the violence we visit on others, and which we thrive on exporting. We are accustomed to standing on one side of it, the right side; we expect to have our finger on the trigger, or to be standing behind the counter and taking a check in return. Only when we imagine being on the wrong end of our own icon, when we envision the AR coming home to America, to do to us what it is has done to others abroad, only then, do we recoil."
us  capitalism  society  policy  chauvinism  exceptionalism  2016  ptrickblacnhfield  via:javierarbona  guns  violence 
july 2016 by robertogreco
George Sauer, the Super Bowl Hero Who Hated Football| The Lives They Lived | The New York Times Magazine
"Then he did something that almost nobody had done before and astonishingly few have done since: He opened up about just how awful it was to play professional football. The words he used were not ambiguous. He described how “the structure of pro football generally works to deny human values” and criticized its “chauvinistic authority.” He told Dave Anderson of The Times that “for me, playing pro football got to be like being in jail.” His plan for self-liberation was to become a writer — he took an assignment from Life magazine for an article about quitting pro football. He wrote 12,000 words that were never published.

A few years after he retired, in 1973, another disillusioned football player — also a wide receiver, for whatever that’s worth — would accomplish what Sauer could not. Peter Gent, who played five seasons for the Dallas Cowboys, published a dark, funny, profane novel called “North Dallas Forty,” which dramatized the ruthlessly competitive, militaristic elements of the game that tormented Sauer. In Gent’s voice, you can hear Sauer’s: “When an athlete, no matter what color jersey he wears, finally realizes that opponents and teammates alike are his adversaries, and he must deal and dispense with them all, he is on his way to understanding the spirit that underlies the business of competitive sport. There is no team, no loyalty, no camaraderie; there is only him, alone.”

The great sadness was that Sauer loved the essence of football and could not stay away from it. Failing to make headway as a writer, he returned to the sport, tentatively at first as a coach for Oberlin College, where the competitive atmosphere must have been a tad more humane. Then he signed up again as a player for the short-lived circus known as the World Football League.

The rest of his life was spent wandering, writing constantly but never publishing. He couldn’t bear the imperfections of his own prose, perhaps discovering, as Gent confessed in a new preface he wrote for “North Dallas Forty” in 2003, that “writing is the only thing I have done that comes close to being as terrifying as being a football player.” Like many football players before him, and surely many, many more to come, Sauer suffered from dementia at the end of his life. It is impossible to know whether it was caused by football, but there is no doubt that as much as the game made him, it also destroyed him, and that he sensed this even at the time.

Watching how football is played now — in which every single achievement on the field is rapturously celebrated, as if human experience scales no greater heights — it is hard not to wonder how much of this is compensatory, a high-pitched attempt to disguise the inhumanity of the game. Could these really be the happiest, most exuberant men on earth, or are they compelled to behave that way for our enjoyment? How many George Sauers are trapped behind those steely masks, dreaming of something else they would rather do with their lives if only they could escape? Every now and then, the secrets spill out. This season, people around the N.F.L. were shocked when John Moffitt, a journeyman lineman, up and quit the Denver Broncos, leaving a hefty salary on the table and leveling an indictment of football even bigger and more sweeping than Sauer’s. “How much do you really value intelligence,” Moffitt told ESPN the Magazine, “when as a society you continue to do unintelligent things?”"
georgesauer  americanfootball  2013  disillusionment  competition  petergent  authority  chauvinism  sports  self-liberation  writing  life  living  humanism  dehumanization 
december 2013 by robertogreco

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