Gay and transgender characters don't feature often enough in major Hollywood films, according to a bizarre claim from the activist organization GLAAD. I say that the claim is bizarre because their gripe is that "only" 17 out of 102 big studio films from 2013 featured gay characters. GLAAD regularly bean counts the number of homosexuals in film in their Studio Responsibility Index. "Only" seems a bit of an odd choice of words, though, when 3.8% of Americans identify as LGBT. If anything, gays are disproportionately represented in movies. This should hardly be surprising, given the distinctly liberal complexion of the entertainment industry.
Popular works of entertainment, be they mutant teenagers flying across the big screen or young heroines flourishing in post-apocalyptic scenarios on the printed page, are subject to endless criticism. Richard Roeper has made a career doing this very thing.
However, in the age of the Internet, a new form of criticism has emerged. I call it Goldilocks syndrome. This is defined as criticizing art based on the critic’s view of what the art should be. In other words, this porridge is too hot (based on what? Your subjective tastes? What about the creator’s desire for the porridge?) or this porridge is too cold. True evaluation of art has to take the work on its own terms in its own context. Another way of phrasing this would be to ask the question: "What was the artist’s goal in creating this work and how well did he achieve it?"
A few nights ago, I went with some classmates to see the remake of the 1987 dystopian action flick "Robocop." As most anyone who was a boy in the 80s and 90s can attest, the original was super cool. It is only with age, however, that one comes to appreciate cynical commentary on the dangers of coziness between contractors and government. The film depicts a Detroit in the far off future of the 1990s in which the civic fathers have privatized their police functions--perhaps the first and most important role of government--to an evil corporation called Omni Consumer Products. Their ultimate product is a robot police officer--a Robocop, if you will--who is part living flesh, part machine. The ethical exploration that arises takes a backseat to campy fun and the film is packed with explosions, but by the time I saw a VHS copy on the shelf of my Nietzsche-expert undergrad philosophy professor, it was clear why.
As The Spectator's own Emily Zanotti covered yesterday, it's that magical time of year when those who toil in the normally unrewarding and altruistic film industry take time away from the hustle and bustle of Tinseltown to recognize...themselves. The Golden Globes are nearly one week behind us, but those who long for the high glamour of Hollywood award shows need not fret. The Academy Award nominations are out.
I'm no objectivist and Ayn Rand's anti-Christian sentiments actually offend me quite a bit, but if the deal goes through for the Randall Wallace-helmed and written Atlas Shrugged film treatment, then I'll be there on opening day.