Greasy pony-tails and hot red-heads

Movie posters. In the weeks leading up to a movie’s release, billboards, bus placards, bus bench placards…ubiquitous as you walk or drive around town. Lately I’ve been seeing this one more often than I care:

Posters appear so often that they become ingrained in your psyche and even elicit a blase sense of deja vu each and every time you see one again, and again, and again, until you are able to reconstitute the damn thing based on memory alone.

Through this gradual desensitization, we lose the ability to perceive the poster clearly. To see it.

After seeing the Leap Year poster for the 5,245th time, it occurred to me: what is up with the gender presentation here?

It’s obviously geared toward the chick-flick, popcorn-munching, movie-goer. Which is a sizable Hollywood marketing segment.

Look at the poster.

Essentially, it tells us all we need to know about mass media’s treatment and estimation of the male/female dynamic in today’s world.

The placement of the actors is clear enough.

Amy Adams, looking mysterious, hot, capable, seductive…she is in charge of the photo. She is Modern Woman and she gets what she wants (which in this case is top billing in some stupid photograph). As befits a pretty girl, all eyes, all photographic lenses, on her. Check out that expression. This chick means business and she’s the boss. Do you hear her roar? That smirk, the cheekbones, the bedroom eyes…the very epitome of feminine allure. Hell, I’d do her, redheads are hot.

And then there’s Matthew Goode.
What the hell. Is this what Hollywood sees fit to offer as the sacrificial testicle-deprived male effigy? Sad.
Look at poor Matthew. That’s a good-looking boy but he’s neutered. Standing silently in the background, a vague air of emasculated unease about him, looking unsure, looking like a not-so-confident boy ready to try out his first Mystery routine, faking the cockiness but not the expression. The epitome of…barely pubescent? His expression cries: I don’t belong here but I want her so badly!

The conjoined pose, the body language speaks thus:

Amy: I don’t need you. I’m so hot you’ll do whatever I ask.
Matthew: Just say how high. I’m here for you ma’am.

It brought to mind of one of my favorite flicks of all time. Now this is a poster:

Humphrey, never the pretty boy, but always the man. And he didn’t need that try-hard unshaven look to accomplish it, either.

The poster offers us an archaic image of equality. Nobody dominates the photo yet both Humphrey and Ingrid look like undisputed representatives of their genders. Neither is whoring it up for the photo, neither dominates the other. Yet, the most subtle of cues tells us that Humphrey Bogart is dominant here. He’s the one facing the camera, he’s the one without the girlish, mommy-where-are-you expression. Stoic and steadfast in the line of fire.

Comparing the posters, I realize many in the “men’s community” have a point which I agree with. Hollywood’s portrayal of men and women is skewed. A pollution of natural gender roles. And since it’s Hollywood, and since it’s shitty movies, you can bet your bottom dollar that most of the disposable income spent on this brand of entertainmet will be steered by women.

These guys are wrong to blame Hollywood for influencing widespread social dynamics.

Hollywood does not shape opinion. Hollywood is led by opinion.
Hollywood is a big, glittery, and very cheap, whore.
Hollywood follows the subtle and underlying cultural mood.
Hollywood does not cause anything to happen. Hollywood is caused. Hollywood is feminine; it is shaped but it does not shape.

Back in the 80s it was masculine action dudes, pony-tails and all.

The only thing that has changed since then is the focus of the idolatry.

Which now is the strong woman. And since male/female relations is a zero-sum game, the man must become proportionally weaker.

So don’t be surprised if you see Steven Seagal in 15 years hamming it up in his gray ponytail and kicking ass from a walker.

Travelin’ cyber man

Up with the sun, gone with the wind
She always said I was lazy
Leavin’ my home, leavin’ my friends
Runnin’ when things get too crazy
Out to the road, out ‘neath the stars
Feelin’ the breeze, passin’ the cars
-”Travelin’ Man”, Bob Seger

In spite of itself, cyberspace does a fair job of representing Real Life, for the most part.

For instance, I seem to flit about, neighborhood to neighborhood, acquainting myself with various fringes of the blogosphere, while never bothering to stay for long or invest myself too heavily in any group.

That is also my nature in real life. I’m a wanderer at heart.

Not a wanderer in the physical, hobo embodiment, hitching rides on trains and carrying a stick with my belongings stuffed in a bag attached. No, no, not that kind of wanderer. I have a job, a family…I have some roots. I am a wanderer of the soul and what better place to live that out than in the cybercommunity.

Only in cyberspace can I act out my sense of aloofness and wanderlust without ever having to leave my apartment. I can dabble a little here, a little there…wherever the mood strikes.

I’m amazed (not in a harsh way) at how much some people invest in the workings and social structure of the their cyberhood. I think it’s great (for them). I suppose I could somehow work and twist this into a state of misery tormenting my own existence.

Maturity. One aspect of maturity, a building block of it, is the ability to recognize what you are and what you aren’t.

And what I’m not: a “joiner.” A “belonger.”

I’m content to pass through, make some very superficial acquaintances, and watch as other “normal-minded” people indulge in their social and community-minded endeavors. I watch in awe as each distinct community glows with a vibrant bustle while its “members” chat and laugh and trade experiences and stories, squabble, argue, offend, defend.

What is it. Fear? Avoidance?
I’m not shy, not in the least. I’m a shameless flirt and I’m able to entertain people and make them laugh. I simply can’t take too much of them. And in order to live out that requirement, I pick and choose when I immerse myself in social life. In small doses and when I’m in the mood. My filters are set on fine and I let very, very few people through. It’s an awfully selfish and self-absorbed manner of living, I will admit. But it’s me.

The sense I wish to impart is that I do not look on others with scorn. I am very happy with my life. Only the unhappy and bitter and envious are capable of scorn. I am not. I accept that there are segments of society who do not share my values and I can also accept that contrasting values can co-exist in an environment of openness and non-judgementality. On my part that is. My part is the only one that counts. For myself. I can’t worry about other’s views of my behavior. And I don’t. I’m the ruler of my world and only my world. I have no say in other worlds, and other worlds have no say in my own.

And until the day I finally have the ability and freedom to rip my roots from the ground and wander the physical countryside as befits my restless soul, I will find contentment in traipsing along the cyberrailroad.