Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
For some reason, I was thinking about ghost movies. Ghost Story (1981), Stir of Echoes (1999) and The Ring (2002) are three of my favorites; they all have it in common that the ghost is the first & final step in a trail of clues to be followed, in something that is just as much a detective story as a tail of the supernatural.
The Ring, though — or, something else somewhere — seems to have started something. As a movie-watching culture, we seem to have formed a pinpoint-sized laser-focused idea of who is supposed to be following clues and figuring things out. We are no longer going to accept anybody who’s too remarkably different from Naomi Watts. Bruce Willis can’t do this anymore and neither can Kevin Bacon or Kevin Bacon’s family…the odd thing is, once The Sixth Sense (1999) successfully installed the “pre-teen creepy kid” thing it seemed like it would hang around forever.
But what’s really got some staying power is the “awesome looking gal who should be naked but has all her clothes on”…figuring out what’s going on, following the trail of clues. If there is anything to be learned she will be the one learning it.
This is not to say, however, she’ll be doing what Nicholas Cage did in National Treasure (2004). There, they had the star figuring everything out, while everyone else just stood around and watched. That got silly, and then they kept on doing it a few more times. When you’re inserting a parody of it into the movie itself, and into the very first installment of the franchise yet, it has been taken very, very far. It still ends up being an enjoyable flick, but it probably could have been something better.
No, the chick-that-should-be-naked-but-is-wearing-all-her-clothes does not act this independently. She takes information in from others with this wide-eyed, naive, “what do you mean by that” look on her face. She needs the knowledge of the men, who are specialists, possessing knowledge that is narrow but deep. Or, they’re stupid ornery redneck sheriffs representing PATRIARCHY! But usually, they’re friendly handymen or morgue attendants or realty agents or whatever. They provide the pieces of the puzzle and she puts them together. While keeping all of her clothes on.
Once The Grudge (2004) came out, followed by Skeleton Key (2005), the die was cast: She has to be a blond. A doe-eyed blond who looks fantastic naked, or next-to-naked, but you’ll never be able to check that out here because she’s going to keep all her clothes on. While she asks the men how things work, and gathers the pieces to put the puzzle together to figure out where the ghost came from and what it wants.
Now, that I find interesting. We don’t want to watch raven-haired girls figure anything out and we don’t want to watch men figure things out. Unless it’s Nicholas Cage…and we don’t want to see Nicholas Cage figure anything out from asking anybody anything, we want to see him find clues and mutter to himself.
But really, the people we want to see asking questions, admitting they don’t know something so a wise man can fill them in on the one tiny piece he knows about, are gorgeous blond women with big blue eyes. With great looking bodies. But wearing bulky long-sleeved sweaters throughout the entire film.
What’s the take-away from all this?
I think it’s got something to do with the sex appeal of information. Already having the information is manly; think of all the old James Bond movies where M would say “Bond, what do you know about [fill in the blank]??” And Bond would show his manly side by turning all walking-encyclopedia for a minute or two, and M would congratulate him and maybe fill in one tiny but key missing piece of the body of knowledge. The pastiche of the manly-man-with-the-photographic-memory has been consigned to the scrap pile of…uh…memory. If you’re under thirty you probably don’t even remember what I’m talking about here, unless you own a complete James Bond collection like myself…
But even today, it is somewhat appealing to already have the information, so long as you don’t overdo it. Of course it’s difficult to discern these things, since nowadays masculinity itself is thought to lose its appeal if it’s overdone. And the cultural cut-off seems to be ratcheted downward, still, year by year. But still: We do not like seeing men asking questions. We like to think they already have all the information they need…and they don’t need much.
Women, on the other hand, seem to be more attractive to us when they’re asking questions. I’ve heard it said women and girls find it necessary to dumb themselves down and end up dateless if they’re perceived as too powerful, independent, capable. This is channeled into some kind of threat, in the eyes of those whom they would like to pursue. I still think this says more about who it is the ladies have decided they want to pursue, than it does about men in general. My own relationships have generally deteriorated when the woman acted too helpless. But…maybe there’s something to this. Certainly there is a perception out there that you can’t be too feminine, and therefore can’t be too attractive, if you don’t have some need for information and require someone better informed to fill in the gaps for you.
I wonder how we’d take it if it were up to a dark-haired girl to ask the smart man the questions, gather the pieces, put the puzzle together, find out where the ghost came from. Heather Langenkamp did okay, I thought. Of course, her eyes were blue. Saaaaaay…now there’s a thought. If it’s the inquisitive one asking all the questions, who has brown eyes, is the scene suddenly not quite as much fun to watch?
From what I can see, Hollywood is much more careful casting the “protagonist who needs to ask the questions and gather the clues together,” than they are about casting the guy-cracking-safes-and-karate-chopping-the-bad-guys. And they are probably right to do this. The rest of us seem to know exactly what it is we expect to see.
Still can’t quite figure out the “she should be naked but she’s wearing all her clothes” thing though. That, to me, seems like a question that was settled without enough thought, that would be best re-opened for further inspection.
I can’t recall the last time I saw a ghost-chasing protagonist woman displaying so much as her forearms. Or her ankles. Face…hands…that’s it. A great-looking flaxen-haired swimsuit model type with blue eyes as big as dinner plates, wearing a sweater so bulky you don’t even know what her cup size is. But she’s no shorter than 5’5″, and no taller than 5’7″.
Cross-posted at Washington Rebel.
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