Saturday, January 15, 2005

# Posted 8:14 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

CONSERVATIVES ARE NOT THE ONES SUFFERING FROM SEXUAL REPRESSION: In his review of the film "Spanglish", The New Yorker's David Denby observes that director
[James] Brooks has committed one of the habitual errors of liberal-Hollywood nice-guyism: he has tried to make a man good by making him sexless...

Since thousands of affluent whites in Los Angeles employ immigrant Latinos as housekeepers, the movie is at least grounded in something real—white guilt, a powerful force in Hollywood. But guilt, when acknowledged, has a way of producing self-consciousness rather than art. In preparation for writing the character of Flor, Brooks spent two years talking to groups of Latina women, and what he’s come up with is an exemplary figure, a successor to the sternly virtuous blacks, dignified Native Americans, staunch Asian-Americans, and other stiff-jointed role models produced by Hollywood over the years as a mistaken way of honoring ethnic minorities...

In the end, we’re meant to believe that [the Hispanic maid] Flor is too fine a person to have any desires of her own. Poor Brooks! His anxiety about giving offense to Latinos has itself become offensive—a classic high-minded blunder. Again and again, liberal Hollywood has to go through the ghastly ritual of ennobling people before it can allow them to become recognizably human.
Then again, who really wants to be human? I'd prefer for everyone to think of me as a noble stereotype, say pajama-clad network-thrashing blogger.
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