Hey, everybody. News Editor and Humor Editor Joe Crowe hosting Subspace
today, and we're devoting it to a letter we received anonymously recently. The
letter writer raises some comment-worthy points regarding the movie Jay
and Silent Bob Strike Back, reviewed by Jason Myers, our Movie Review
Guy. The writer also mentions a comedy article I wrote, "Bitches
Now here's what we're a-gonna do. The text of the letter is in plain type. As
you go, Jason will give his thoughts in bold, and I'll close with mine
in bold and sweet, sweet italics.
Subject: Jay and Silent Bob Can Kiss My Ass!
Hey - just a glaring thing about Kevin Smith's new movie you (the writer
of the review) may have missed:
It was a sexist piece of trash.
JASON MYERS: Yeah, I guess I did miss that. HmmmÖ silly me.
Girls are geeks too, and some of us don't appreciate our gender portrayed
as objects that have one purpose: to be fucked.
Well, actually, according to most biologistsÖ ah, nevermind.
The intelligence and wit of the reviews on this website has been excellent,
and the presence of actual feminist material there at the beginning
was refreshing. That's why I was so disappointed to read your Jay and
Silent Bob review only to see that, as usual, a guy liked the movie because
it was "funny" (huh huh huh huh...der), and completely neglected to mention
(notice???) that it was also totally and utterly chock full of every derogatory
image and name for women available.
Please note the sexist stereotype inherent in the phrase that begins "as
usual, a guy liked the movieÖ" Don't worry kiddies, it's okay for women to make
blatantly sexist remarks about men. Because sexist stereotypes about men are
true, but sexist stereotypes about women are just plain sexist.
More to the point, just for fun, I checked a few statistics on the Internet
Movie Datebase. Yes, many more men went to see Jay and Silent Bob than women.
However, in all age groups, the women consistentlygave Jay and Silent Bob
a slightly higher rating than the men did.
NOT to mention the little "joke" wherein Jay's "angel" on his shoulder
suggests that he should have "whipped his dick out" when a woman was asleep.
A charming allusion to acquaintance rape, or a charming allusion to
masturbating on her or near her while she slept? Oooo, either way, quality
cinema I'm sure. Kevin Smith is so much smarter than this piece of ass movie.
Have you even seen Kevin Smith's movies? There's a poop golem in Dogma.
A guy wipes his butt with his hand in Mallrats. And remember what happens
at the end of Clerks? Ick. Not what I'd normally call elements of "quality
cinema," but, nonetheless, Smith does make damn good films. I think I adequately
warned readers when I said that the sheer crudity in Jay and Silent Bob Strike
Back makes American Pie look like an episode of The Care Bears.
I didn't specifically warn Catholics that Jay and Silent Bob lay the
smackdown on a priest, and I didn't warn Internet denizens that they would be
portrayed as a bunch of scrawny 12-year-olds.
Now, before you start gearing up your comebacks, I've heard the excuses:
Smith is poking fun at people like Jay... he's making a statement by blowing
sexism and homophobic comments out of proportion and highlighting our perceived
notions of blah blah blah. Yeah? Look, if Kevin Smith actually
thinks that people laughing at all those sexist comments are inside saying
"what a fascinating commentary on sexism, and what a clever social use of
fart jokes!" then he is very very stupid. People laugh because they
just think it's funny to see Jay call women "bitches" all the time and want
to get into women's pants...
Yes, a percentage (a very small percentage) of the people who laugh at
the things that Jay says in Jay and Silent Bob are laughing because they
actually believe those things. Just as some of the people who laughed at the
prejudiced things that Archie Bunker said in All in the Family laughed
because they sided with Archie. No, Smith is not going for high-minded social
commentary, but the analogy holds. Jay, like Archie, turns out to be a basically
nice guy, in spite of his phenomenal jackass tendencies. And the audience is
laughing at Jay at least as much as they are laughing with him.
As for the "people laugh because they think it's funny to see Jay call
women bitches," that's absolutely true. I doubt that men laughed at that
part more than women did. Also, in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, there
is a scene in which an old lady is holding a cat by the tail and repeatedly
beating it against a hard surface. It's a funny scene. Does that mean that I
(and other Python fans) would think it was funny if someone in real life picked
up a cat and started whipping it around? Of course not.
...and they like to drool over the sexed up images of the vamps in the movie.
I completely agree with this part. And there's nothing wrong with that.
My girlfriend is witty, capable, kind, very intelligent, AND she has a sweet
ass. I appreciate her for all those things.
Do I think that the media portrays unrealistic (and oversexed) body images?
Yes. Would I single Kevin Smith out for this above, say, teen magazines, MTV,
the modeling business, or a television industry in which even the minor characters
and extras are way more attractive than the average person? No, especially since
Smith is clearly clearly clearly lampooning the stereotypical male fantasy.
And I think that's exactly why Smith put them there. He's no dummy, he's
going for the laugh. HE finds it funny. Well fuck him. So
don't hand me any of that pseudo-critical garbage.
How's this for pseudo-critical garbage? There's a fun hobby we learn in
high school and college English classes called deconstruction. You look at a
book closely to determine what the underlying messages are, what it's REALLY
saying. Part of the time you can learn something from deconstruction. But most
people use deconstruction as an excuse to push their own agendas or highlight
their personal pet peeves. You can do the same thing with movies. Monty Python
and the Holy Grail promotes cruelty to animals. Fight Club exhorts
people to commit violent acts. Revenge of the Nerds stereotypes and dehumanizes
people who play college sports. The Cider House Rules (I actually believe
this one) romanticizes morally bankrupt protagonists (the guy seems to have
no problem sleeping with the girlfriend of the person who was kind enough to
give him a break, and the girl's lame excuse for cheating is that she just can't
be by left by herself).
Kindly provide me with a list of your ten favorite movies, and I'll tell
you about the prejudiced message inherent in each one.
Most deconstructionists are terribly narrow-sighted. Countless people will
bemoan the "I've gotta have a man to be happy" message of Disney movies
like Cinderella and Snow White, but never bother to take a look
at how men are stereotyped and short-shrifted in those same movies. The prince
has no character development. He is merely an object, a one-dimensional love-object,
there only to fight off the bad guy and provide a kiss at the end. Disney's
Beauty and the Beast is about learning to see a person's inner beauty,
right? But look closer. At the end, the Beast turns into a (badly drawn) Euro-stud,
thereby dashing the hopes of every nice-but-homely guy who knows damn well that
he's not going to turn into a handsome prince no matter how many people fall
in love with him.
Similarly (if I had a chip on my shoulder), I could go on and on about how
terrible Jay and Silent Bob is, because it stereotypes men as sex-obsessed,
insecure, brain-dead, eternal adolescents. But I don't. Why? Because I got the
I fully support your right to be offended by Jay and Silent Bob Strike
Back. I'm not sure how to respond, however, to the idea that someone could
be offended because I failed to be offended by Jay and Silent Bob.
We have now added a warning to the end of my Jay and Silent Bob review.
It reads: "Warning: this movie is offensive. Offensive, offensive, offensive.
There's something to offend everyone. Even you. Yeah, you, over there, you're
going to be offended (or at least grossed out). Revolution SF apologizes in
advance for recommending such a howlingly offensive movie. Plus which, Jason
Myers wrote this review, and, truth be told, he's not any smarter than you.
He knows it, and you know it. He's just trying to do his job. If you'd like
to feed the movie reviewer, deposit 25 cents into the Movie Reviewer Chow dispenser.
Please do not tap on the glass. It frightens him."
Smith could do so much better.
And while I'm ranting: double phhhtttthhhbbtt for the ever charming
"Biccans" article. While very funny at first, it swiftly deteriorated
into a laughable example of "pretty girls won't have sex with me so I'm gonna
call them a bitch" syndrome. *applause* That's why they won't sleep
with you, cowboy. ;)
Again, I like this website and tell all my friends to come by. I think
it rocks. I just think it'd be nice (and pretty damn *revolutionary*)
to give a little more thought to how sexist and derogatory a movie is before
you laud it as a must see. (anonymous)
JOE CROWE: My turn!
What were you expecting when you clicked on the story? I think it was
pretty apparent that it would contain bitch-related attempts at comedy. And
where in the story exactly did it take a turn from being "very funny" to being
I think the experience of each writer always plays into his work. But I think,
in this instance, that your "syndrome" comment lacks merit. Is it incorrect
for a comic who jokes about being stuck in traffic to have gotten the idea from
actually having been stuck in traffic himself?
But, as with all comedy, your mileage may vary.
Actually, some of the article was a direct parody of terms from Wicca, straight
from a Wiccan dictionary I found. I'm more surprised that we got zero complaints
from people with an interest in Wicca.
We printed this letter to let you all know that we don't just print letters
of praise. Although we like those, too. If you'd like to comment on this topic,
or any other one, just bring it to email@example.com.